OCEANSIDE — With a year left in his term on City Council, Councilman Rocky Chavez has said yes to the position of undersecretary for California Department of Veteran Affairs.
Chavez will start his new position, which earns a salary of $122,424, on Nov. 16, but has delayed handing in his resignation as councilman. He said there is no conflict with the city of Oceanside if he works both jobs and that he plans to keep his council seat through November.
Chavez said the delay in his resignation is a cost-saving measure that will put the special election for his seat in June when it can be held in tandem with the state election. “My decision will save taxpayer dollars,” Chavez said. “It will save residents a couple of thousand.”
The delay will also allow Chavez one more council vote in November before the Dec. 8 recall election that may unseat Councilman Jerry Kern.
Once Chavez submits his resignation, council can appoint someone to replace him or set a date for a special election.
Chavez’s appointment as undersecretary by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a 13-month position. At the end of Schwarzenegger’s term, it will be up to the new California governor as to whether Chavez stays on as undersecretary. To fulfill the 13-month position, Chavez and his wife will rent a condominium in Sacramento, but continue to call Oceanside home.
In his new position, Chavez will oversee 17,000 employees and work to provide outreach to minorities and women and provide veterans with housing and services. Chavez said he looks forward to the opportunity to serve veterans and their families.
Chavez is retired from a 27-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps. He most recently served as assistant chief of staff for logistics at Camp Pendleton from 1999 to 2001.
During his military career, Chavez worked as a joint officer in 1985 and had the opportunity to work with the Marine Corps, Army and Navy. “I like working with all the services,” Chavez said.
Chavez said he has received strong support from the community and coworkers for his decision to take the state position. “The e-mails and calls have been 100 percent support,” he said.
Chavez is expected to resign form his council seat in late November or early December. If council does not appoint someone to fill his seat, it will remain vacant until a special election is held.