Redlands City Council to consider 12 applicants for vacant council seat

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The City Council on Tuesday will consider a dozen applicants for a one-year appointment to fill the Council seat vacated following the death of former Council Member Pat Gilbreath last month.

The council set a deadline of Monday, Nov. 13, for candidates to submit an application to the City Clerk’s Office in order to be considered for appointment to the seat. A total of 13 qualified applicants submitted applications by the deadline. One applicant later withdrew her name from consideration.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the City Council will hear a brief presentation and ask questions of each applicant. The council will select their choices, eliminating candidates until reaching a majority agreement on the final candidate.

Due to a financial relationship with one of the applicants, Mayor Pro Tem Paul Barich plans to recuse himself on Tuesday from the process as long as that applicant remains a viable candidate.

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Within the past 12 months, Barich, who operates an insurance business, acted as a broker to provide policies to one of the candidates, for which he was paid a sum totaling more than $500.

Last week, Barich identified the potential conflict to City Attorney Dan McHugh who sought advice from the Fair Political Practices Commission. On Monday, the FPPC provided an informal opinion that, because the candidate represented a source of income to Barich above the legal threshold within the specified period, considering that candidate’s application would likely represent a conflict of interest for the Mayor Pro Tem.

Once he recuses himself, Barich will be permitted to listen from a room outside the Council Chambers to the presentations by the candidates and the council members’ questions. If the candidate representing the conflict is eliminated from consideration during the process, Barich would be permitted to participate in any further deliberations.

Applicants for the vacant seat include Ann Davis-Schultz, Libbern Cook, Toni Momberger, Mike Safie, Angela Keller, John Justin Weekley, Michael Robles, Richard O’Donnell, Denise Davis, Brandon Ocasio, Kaiser Ahmed and Patty Peoples.

Gilbreath, who served 22 years on the Redlands City Council, died Oct. 3. She was first elected to the council in 1993 and served until 2010. In 2012 she was again elected to the council. In 2016 she was reelected to her sixth term. She served as mayor twice – from 1999-2001 and again from 2009-2010.

On Oct. 17, the City Council voted 4-0 to fill the vacant seat through appointment. The appointed council member will serve until newly elected council members are sworn in following the next General Municipal Election in November 2018.

To be considered for appointment, all applicants must attend the City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, in the City Council Chambers at 35 Cajon St. Applicants will be allowed five minutes each to make a presentation to the City Council regarding his or her interest, background and qualifications to serve on the council. Following their presentations, applicants may also receive questions from members of the City Council. It is the City Council’s intent to make an appointment at the Nov. 21 meeting. All council deliberations regarding the appointment will be conducted in open session.

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