EL CAJON, Calif. – The El Cajon City Council appointed a new mayor Tuesday to fill the seat left vacant when the former mayor resigned.
Mark Lewis stepped down in October amid accusations he made prejudiced comments towards the Chaldean community and other races.
On Tuesday, the El Cajon City Council decided to appoint Mayor pro-tem Bill Wells as the new mayor. Members now have 60 days to fill his seat on the City Council.
“I’m not worried about the public not being included, because the four of you were elected in that process,” said Neil Arthur, local developer. “You are the public’s choice.”
“I would like to go on record supporting the electoral process,” said Vicki Butcher, El Cajon resident. “You elect a mayor. You elect a city council member.”
Ultimately, the council decided to appoint someone, instead of spending the money on a special election. Moments after making the decision, Wells voiced his interest in the position.
“My interest in the becoming the mayor was not a secret,” said Wells. “I was already running and raising money to run for the next election, because Mark Lewis had already said he wasn’t going to run again.”
Wells excluded himself and left the room so his fellow council members could make a decision.
“I would move that we appoint Bill Wells as our next mayor,” said Councilman Bob McClellan. Councilman Tony Ambrose seconded the motion which was then unanimously approved.
Wells returned to the room and was immediately sworn in as mayor. Now councilmembers must decide who will fill the vacant seat left by Wells.
They decided they’d like to appoint someone, rather than have a special election. They also decided they’d like to see an application process.
Councilman Tony Ambrose will be working with the city manager to design the application. They agreed it will be available online on the city website by close of business Monday November 18. A hard copy will also be available at the City Clerk’s Office.
In light of the recent accusations against the former mayor, some residents urged the council to consider diversity when making their choice.
The council hopes to appoint someone at the December regular meeting, but if the seat isn’t filled within 60 days it will go to a special election.