Now that Sal Quintero is a Fresno County supervisor-elect, an election will have to be held to find his replacement.
What’s not clear is whether the election could occur soon enough to prevent a gap between Quintero’s departure and his successor’s arrival.
Fresno City Attorney Douglas Sloan said the City Council has several choices.
The council can have an election added to the November ballot and, if necessary, a runoff could be scheduled in December. The council also could wait until Quintero leaves office and appoint a temporary replacement before having a special election and possible runoff, Sloan said.
Questions loom over whether Quintero could resign after the election is certified and stay on the council for the remainder of the year or if his seat must be vacant, which could push the election of his replacement into next year.
Quintero said he’s seen some proposals from Sloan’s office, but there isn’t a single answer.
“They are trying to sort it out and see what options are available,” Quintero said. “From what I understand, there may be a couple options for us to look at and decide from there.”
Another scenario is whether the City Council could temporarily appoint Quintero to his own seat after he announces his resignation until his replacement, elected in either November or December, can take over in January.
If there is to be a November election, the council must decide before Aug. 1, Sloan said.
County Clerk and Registrar of Voters Brandi Orth said she is in discussions with the city about the election process.
“I’ve reached out to the city and we will be discussing the regulations and election laws as they collect information to determine the best course of action,” she said.
Luis Chavez, who is Quintero’s chief of staff and also serves on the Fresno Unified School District board, said he’s interested in running. If he wins, he would face re-election in 2018, which is when Quintero’s term would have ended.
“I have a lot of calls from business leaders urging me to run, so I’m definitely looking at it,” Chavez said.
Chavez’s four-year Fresno Unified term ends this year, and he would not run for re-election to the board. Chavez said he’s already familiar with the territory: Tthe state Senate seat he campaigned for two years ago covers the entire Fresno City Council District 5 seat and the school board seat covers about 40 percent of the City Council district.
For the Clovis City Council, replacing Fresno County Supervisor-elect Nathan Magsig is much less convoluted.
Clovis City Council doesn’t often get vacancies. Bob Whalen is the council’s junior member. He was first elected in 2003.
The city hasn’t had an election since 2009, when three candidates were running for two seats.
Clovis City Clerk John Holt said Magsig’s final meeting would be in December. Between January and March, the council will have four members until the March election and swearing-in.