New City Council member to be appointed

New City Council member to be appointed
Farrah Douglas resigned from City Council last week, leaving her chair at the Feb. 11 City Council meeting empty. Photo by Rachel Stine

CARLSBAD — City Council will fill the empty seat left by Farrah Douglas with an appointment around the end of March.

The four remaining council members voted at the Feb. 11 meeting in favor of an appointment to avoid a costly special election.

Mayor Matt Hall said that a special election would not be “fair or reasonable to the community” with its estimated $450,000 price tag.

Douglas announced her resignation on Feb. 5, citing personal matters. With Douglas elected in November 2010, her replacement will serve the remainder of her term through this November.

Council members expressed the need to select a new member quickly to fill the short remainder of Douglas’s term.

But they also expressed the need to be thorough in their selection process.

When Councilmember Keith Blackburn was selected via appointment seven years ago, 28 candidates applied for the position, said Hall.

Blackburn said it is important to press upon the candidates how much commitment serving on city council requires.

“I was kind of overwhelmed with all of the things that landed on my plate,” he said, recalling when he first started.

Mayor Pro Tem Mark Packard pointed out that the city will also be selecting a new city manager within a matter of weeks, and raised the question of whether the new member should be involved in that process.

But the other council members determined that it would be better not to rush it in before the hiring of a new city manager.

Applications for the position have been posted on the city’s website and are due Feb. 26.

At the same meeting, council also received a presentation about the master plan for the Palomar-McClellan Airport currently under development.

The new master plan will outline the next 20 years of development and improvement projects of the airport beginning in 2015, according to Peter Drinkwater, director of San Diego County airports.

The most ambitious portion of the plan will address whether or not to extend the airport’s runway, a move that could reduce noise from the airport and allow planes with more fuel to take off from the airport and fly as far away as China.

The next public workshop on the master plan will be held in April or May to gather community input.

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