Antioch Council to consider filling Agopian’s seat, minimum wage increase, Tuesday night

By Allen Payton

At their regular council meeting, Tuesday night, August 12, 2014, the Antioch City Council will consider filling the vacant council seat held by the late Gary Agopian, who passed away after a 10-month battle with brain cancer.

According to the Council Agenda for the meeting, “with Council Member Gary Agopian’s death on July 28, 2014, state law provides the following options for addressing the vacancy on the City Council within 60 days of the vacancy:

1) Call a special election to fill the vacant seat, which would arguably not require the City Council to do anything further because the seat is already up for the regular election on November 4, 2014 and the City Council has already called for that regular election; or

2) Appoint a person to fill the City Council vacancy until the election results in November are certified and the elected Council Member seated.”

City staff has included two resolutions for the council to consider, one appointing someone at the meeting, and the other inviting applications for an appointment to the council at a later meeting.

However, an appointment is not necessary under state law and the council can leave the seat vacant, because the regular election will be held on November 4, which is within 114 days of the vacancy occuring. A special election could be called, but not held until November 19. According to staff, “a common sense reading strongly suggests that the regular election in November 2014 should fulfill the statutory option of having a special election.”

Leaving the seat vacant will save the city money, as it would incur no additional staff time, and no salary or benefits would be paid to the appointment Council Member.

If an appointment is made, that person would only serve until the new council members, elected in November, are seated some time in December.

Also on the council’s agenda is a discussion to consider a local minimum wage in Antioch higher than the state or federal minimum wage. Staff has brought the matter forward upon direction from the council, earlier this year, but is recommending against it.

The third major item on the agenda is the Community Outreach and Communications Plan for the proposed Antioch downtown east residential development project, which has become controversial due to the location of the project and the possible tearing down and replacement of the current Senior Center. The proposal is to have meetings with a two focus groups, one made up of seniors who use the center and another group that uses the Nick Rodriguez Center theater, as well as the Chamber of Commerce Economic Development/Government Affairs Committee and the city’s Economic Development Commission between now and October. Staff is proposing to have a council decision on which developer to choose for the project by sometime in October or November.

The Antioch City Council meetings begin at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month and are held in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 3rd and H Streets in downtown Antioch or you can livestream them on the city’s website at www.ci.antioch.ca.us or watch them on Comcast Local Cable Access Programming Channel 24.

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