The Hemet City Council is currently seeking applications to fill the District 1 council seat formerly held by the late Karlee Meyer.

“City council may fill the vacancy by appointment, there may be an application process set forth or, alternatively, the city council may direct applications to be submitted and then establish a process for reviewing and selecting a qualified candidate,” John Paul Maier, city clerk, said. “The city council may also decide to call a special election.”

Maier said if the city council was to choose to hold a special election, it would cost the city an estimated $34,000, plus any additional fees since there were no other elections to consolidate with throughout the county.

“For one thing, I don’t want to have anything to do with a special election,” Mayor Joe Males said. “I don’t think it’s needed here, and I think we need to appoint someone for District 1.”

Councilmember Linda Krupa agreed with the mayor’s assessment, adding that there was already an established practice on the council of soliciting applications.

“Twice in the past, while I’ve been on council, we had a vacancy and solicited applications from interested people,” she said. “They sent their applications in, we held a public meeting, one by one we asked them basically the same questions, and then had a discussion — not necessarily public in our discussion — but after all of the applicants answered the questions and basically said why they wanted to fill the position, we wrote down our selection our choice, handed it to the city clerk, [the] selection was read off who wanted what, and we actually came to conclusion both times selecting a person.”

Krupa also said she did not want the council to simply appoint someone to fill the position because, to her, it would have the “smell and connotation of a backdoor deal.”

Mayor Pro Tem Malcolm Lilienthal, however, thought the council could honor Meyer and her work by appointing her husband, Roger, to the seat.

“Growing up, you would see council members pass away and then they honored them with their spouse coming in because they kind of know what’s going on,” he said.

Males said he would be in favor of appointing Meyer’s husband to the unexpired term, but Krupa and Councilmember Jackie Peterson said they wanted to go through the application process to keep it fair and open.

Meyer, who died April 17, was elected to the District 1 seat during the November 2020 election. The term for the seat runs through December 2024.

More information, as well as a link to the application, can be found here on the city’s website. In order to be eligible to fill the unexpired term, an applicant must be 18 years or older, a citizen of the United States, a resident of District 1 and otherwise eligible by law to hold office. Applications are due by 5:30 p.m. June 2, 2023.

You can watch a recording of the full meeting here.

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