SOLANA BEACH — Mayor Ginger Marshall abruptly resigned April 5, effective immediately, becoming the second council member to unexpectedly leave the dais in less than a month.
“I want to leave on a good note, not a sour note,” said the first-term council member who has served in the rotating position as mayor since December.
Marshall thanked residents for the opportunity to serve the city and said beyond that she preferred not to comment.
She did not give a specific reason in her letter to City Manager Greg Wade.
In a letter dated March 11 to Wade, three-term Councilman Mike Nichols said he was stepping down, effective the following day, “to handle pressing family matters.”
Council members opted to appoint his replacement rather than hold a special election, which could cost the city between $150,000 and $225,000.
They were scheduled to make a selection and swear in the newest council member before the April 11 meeting.
Former Councilwoman Lesa Heebner, Paul Basore, Robert Secrest and 2016 council candidate Ed Siegel submitted applications.
Siegel, however, withdrew his name after learning Heebner was in the running.
“She is by far the most qualified,” he wrote in an email to Marshall. “I have always appreciated her service to the community and can’t think of anyone better to fill the shoes of Mike Nichols.”
City Clerk Angela Ivey said the next steps will be at the discretion of the remaining council members. They could appoint two people from the list of applicants or discuss their options during a regularly scheduled meeting.
Councilman Dave Zito will preside over meetings as deputy mayor until his colleagues vote to determine who will complete Marshall’s term as mayor.
Marshall and Nichols ran unopposed in 2014, so council members opted to and appoint them and cancel the local election as a cost-saving measure.
During her tenure, Marshall often cast the minority vote in many 4-1 decisions.
Although she has solar panels on her house and describes herself as a committed recycler, she did not support community choice aggregation because she said she believed there were too many unanswered questions and the city should wait to create the alternative clean-energy program in partnership with other North County cities.
She was also consistent when it came to resolutions that addressed federal issues, saying she was elected to serve and focus on the needs of Solana Beach residents.
Most recently, about a week before her resignation, she opposed a resolution urging federal and state representatives to enact responsible, rational nationwide laws for the safe possession and use of guns.
“Trust me, I’m not promoting gun violence,” Marshall said. “I think we need more background checks. We need to ban bump stocks.”
She said she opposed the resolution because she supports the First and Second Amendments.