PATTERSON — City Council members on Tuesday night unanimously elected Charles Sawyer to assume the seat left vacant by his wife’s death.
Claire Sawyer was almost four months into her second term as a city councilwoman when she was taken ill and slipped into a coma. She died May 1, the day of the regular Patterson City Council meeting for the month.
Mayor Rodney Grogan advanced Charles Sawyer’s name for consideration, and Councilman John Rentrop made the official nomination. No other nominations were made.
Sawyer will serve until a special election is held on Tuesday, Nov. 6, the date of the presidential election. He is eligible to run for the remainder of the term.
“He may run — because there is more than one year left in the term — under the terms of the (city) charter,” Grogan said.
“The restriction occurs in the sentence about there being less than a year remaining in the term, and not in the next sentence about there being more than a year remaining in the term,” council attorney Russel Cremaldi said. “I don’t see how it can be interpreted to apply in both situations.”
Qualifying for the November election will be held Aug. 15-17.
Mid-term vacancies and special elections in Patterson last happened in 1991, when two council members were elected to the Parish Council.
Current City Councilman Larry Mendoza was appointed to fill one of the vacancies, and he said people should not worry about Sawyer having an unfair advantage of incumbency if he decides to run.
Mendoza ran to remain in office after his appointment and “I came in fifth out of six,” he said.