At a special virtual meeting Thursday, the Ukiah City Council appointed former Council member Mari Rodin to fill the seat recently vacated by Maureen Mulheren, who was elected to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
Rodin, who ran against Mulheren for the 2nd District seat on the county’s Board of Supervisors in the November 2020 election, was one of eight people who applied to fill Mulheren’s seat. The other seven applicants were Steve Scalmanini, who lost his seat on the City Council in November, and Jason Howard, Michelle Johnson, Cameron Ramos (a Ukiah City Council candidate in the November 2020 election), Susan Sher, Joel Veikko Soinila and Jeff Trouette.
The City Council scheduled a special meeting Thursday to review the applications and possibly appoint one of the applicants to fill the unexpired term of Mulheren, which is set to end in November of 2022.
More than 60 letters of support were received from the public, 28 of which expressed support for Rodin, 23 of which expressed support for Scalmanini (eight letters expressed support for both Scalmanini and Rodin).
Applicant Susan Sher received 10 letters of support, Michelle Johnson eight, and both Joel Soinila and Jeff Troutte received two each.
Vice-Mayor Jim Brown said his first choice was Rodin, explaining that since there were only two years left in Mulheren’s term, and that he felt it took him a while to “get up to speed” when he was first elected, he felt it was important to appoint someone with experience, of which he said Rodin had an “extensive” amount. Brown said his second choice was Johnson.
Mayor Juan Orozco agreed that the board needed someone with experience and said his first choice was Rodin, and second choice was Scalmanini.
Council member Doug Crane also voiced support for Scalmanini, describing him as “consistently standing up for the underdog and putting his shoulder to the wheel.” Crane said his second choice was Rodin, and third choice was Johnson.
City Council member Josefina Duenas said she did not feel experience was the top priority, given that there were already three people on the council with experience and knowledge. Her first choice was Soinila, second was Susan Sher, and her third was Ramos.
Given that three people listed Rodin as one of their choices, Brown made a motion to appoint Rodin, and the City Council voted 3-1 to select Rodin, with only Duenas voting “no.”
City Manager Sage Sangiacomo said Rodin will be sworn in at the next City Council meeting on Feb. 3.
(Courtesy, the Ukiah Daily Journal)