Emeryville City Council returned to in-person meetings for the first time in three years on Tuesday. The Covid-19 State of emergency will officially end on February 28 mandating this return.
The four Emeryville city councilmembers were all present and virtual attendees were able to participant via a “hybrid” model.
The most intriguing agenda item of the meeting was the interview process to appoint a city council replacement for resigned Councilmember Ally Medina. The last councilmember appointed in this manner is thought to be Gary Caffey who replaced Bob Savage after he suffered a stroke.
Mayor John Bauters is also considered “appointed” as he ran unopposed in 2020 and council opted to appoint themselves instead of using city funds to hold an election where the outcome was predetermined.
Applicant Cole Albon withdrew as it was determined he was not a registered Emeryville voter (a requirement) and Brady Goodwin was unable to attend the interview process which automatically rescinded his application. Applicant Lindsey Pfieffer was a no-show.
The withdrawal of these three applicants left only six of the nine applicants as participants in the interview process.
The order of the interviews among these applicants was decided randomly. Questions asked of each were predetermined.
Applicant Sukhdeep Kaur, an attorney and Watergate resident, recently placed fourth among the pool of five candidates vying for two seats in last fall’s election. Kaur was presumed to be the favored applicant because of this and lobbying for her began prior to the meeting with several residents submitting letters of support on her behalf. A majority of the public comment following the interview voiced their support for Kaur as well.
After discussion, Council was tasked with commenting on each applicant’s qualifications and casting two votes among the six interviewed candidates. All councilmembers spoke glowingly about Kaur and her qualifications. “Sukhdeep, you are super-dope” councilmember Priforce spoke in an unconventional way but one that summed up the others’ sentiments.
Kaur was the only applicant to receive votes from all four councilmembers.
Applicant Stephanie Singer, a recent resident but someone with local government experience, apparently impressed the council as well but fell just short with three votes. Matthew Solomon received councilmember Mourra’s second vote.
A motion was made to appoint Kaur that was unanimously approved.
Kaur is the first councilmember living at Watergate since Nora Davis who retired in 2016. She is also likely the first Emeryville city councilmember of Indian decent.
“I am grateful and humbled to serve with the leadership that makes Emeryville a model city in the region,” Kaur later expressed via Twitter. “Thank you, Mayor and Council for the appointment and the warm welcome. Thank you to all of you who made such heartfelt public comments in my support. Deeply touched.”
Feature Image: Kaur takes her oath with Emeryville city clerk April Richardson (source: John Bauters’ Twitter Account).