Meeting in special session Monday, the council heard from Town Attorney Rob Ewing, who explained why it was necessary to make the decision so soon after Shimansky's passing.
"It's a little difficult talking about this subject so soon after Mike's passing," Ewing said, "but the state gives us 30 days from his passing to fill his seat."
Ewing said that the council has two options in regards to replacing Shimansky: either appoint a person to the seat or direct the Contra Costa County Clerk to call a special election.
According to Ewing, if the town were to go for a special election, they would not be able to hold it until the next scheduled special election, April 6, and it would cost the town an estimated $176,000.
"Between now and then," Ewing added, "you'd run with only four council members. The person winning that election would only be serving out the rest of Mike's term (ending December 2010) which would be about six months."
Council members discussed the two options, and quickly leaned toward filling the seat by appointment.
"$176,000 answers my question," said Councilman Mike Doyle. "The fiscally responsible thing to do is appoint."
Mayor Newell Arnerich agreed, saying that not only the cost is significant, but the fact that waiting until April to hold the election would reduce the size of the council for several months.
After a brief discussion, the council decided to fill the seat by appointment, and then talked about how the process will work.
Residents can download the application from the Town's Web site, www.ci.danville.ca.us. As part of the process, applicants are asked to answer a questionnaire provided by the town to detail their involvement in Danville, their opinions on issues such as roads and the downtown business district, and what Danville's role should be in regards to issues facing the entire region.
One question added to the form dealt with the applicant's availability. Council members are paid a monthly stipend of $675 and usually work a minimum of 15-20 hours a week on council business.
"If you're the Mayor, it can become a full time job, but we all put in 15 hours a week or more," said Councilwoman Candace Andersen.
Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. Oct. 1. After that, the council has scheduled a series of sessions to interview applicants and discuss who they believe should fill Shimansky's seat through the end of his term.
Sessions will be held on Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. to noon; Oct. 6 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Oct. 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Oct. 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Applicants should be prepared to be interviewed during these meetings.
Once the interviews are completed, the council will meet at 9 a.m. Oct. 13 to discuss the applicants and make a decision. The new council member will be sworn in and will attend their first meeting at the regular session of the council that evening.
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