Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 10:05 am | Fair 66º


Santa Maria Council Chooses Willie Green to Fill Vacancy

The candidate who finally united the Santa Maria City Council enough to fill its vacant seat is a part-time Allan Hancock College instructor who takes pride in his mediation skills.

Willie Green, who has taught business law and management at Hancock since 2000, was unanimously chosen during Tuesday night’s meeting from a pool of 14 applicants to serve the remaining two years of Mayor Alice Patino’s four-year term.

The City Council had been deadlocked on how to fill the seat since new members were sworn in two months ago.

After agreeing to accept applications earlier this month, council members Tuesday heard five-minute oral presentations from all the applicants before narrowing the field to four candidates, said Chief Deputy City Clerk Rhonda Garietz.

The final four included Green, former City Councilman Mike Cordero, former Hancock Trustee Henry Grennan and Etta Waterfield, who was the third-highest vote-getter in the council election and has received vocal support from Patino and Councilman Bob Orach.

Garietz said all four applicants continued into the third phase because each received at least one write-in vote from council members, who were instructed to choose two to move on.

Orach nominated Waterfield for appointment, but the council deadlocked 2-2, with council members Jack Boysen and Terri Zuniga against the motion.

Council deadlocked a second time when Boysen nominated Cordero, with Patino and Orach voting against.

When Green was nominated by Orach, the council voted 4-0 to immediately appoint him.

Garietz said a plan had been in place in case council couldn’t agree, which would have put the council in violation of the 60-day government rule that states an appointment or special election must take place.

“We didn’t need to get to that point,” she said Wednesday, noting that the meeting went until just after midnight. “We’re happy.”

The council compromise appointment of Green prevents any interested person from forcing the council to call a special election.

Green, who has lived in Santa Maria 14 years, has previously served on two city committees, including the Block Grants Advisory Committee and on the All-America City Committee, according to his application.

He also said he has experience as a neutral arbitrator for Costco-Wholesale Teamsters California, a staff negotiator in the labor law/industrial relations division of Safeway stores in Northern California, and since 1991 has taught training workshops in team building, career building and more. 

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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