The South Lake Tahoe City Council voted unanimously Thursday to appoint a fifth council member to replace Claire Fortier through an application and interview process.
The council moved against holding a special election, which would have cost the city an estimated $9,000 to $15,000 and have left the council shorthanded for up to seven months.
"I cannot in good conscious recommend an election because we're seven months out and it will cost the taxpayers a lot of money," Councilwoman JoAnn Conner said.
Conner and Mayor Tom Davis both stated a strong preference for a public application and interview process that they claimed would save both time and money. Councilwoman Angela Swanson stressed the importance of listening to the public when it comes to electing government officials, but ultimately agreed to appoint a fifth member as long as the process is transparent.
John Cefalu and Kenny Curtzwiler endorsed Bruce Grego at Thursday's special council meeting, and stated that the council should try and replace Fortier, who concluded her one-year term as mayor on Tuesday, Dec. 11, as quickly as possible.
Four residents sent letters to the city in favor of Austin Sass, the runner-up in the November election. Sass finished third with 496 votes less than second-place finisher Conner.
"I'd like you to remember that the public has a will too and to keep an open mind about that. I'm sure there are a lot of people in town that would love to have the experience to be on the City Council, but I think it's important to have someone who really does have that fire and that willingness to serve," former South Lake Tahoe Mayor Judy Brown said Thursday during the public comment period.
The city clerk will accept commission committee applications and attached resumes for the position until Jan. 25. Interviews will take place at the public South Lake Tahoe council meeting on Feb. 5. The council's deadline to announce the final appointment is Feb. 12.