Councilmembers will cast their vote for Sharon Roden at the Oct. 3 City Council meeting

PASO ROBLES — Eligible candidates for the vacant District 1 seat on Paso Robles City Council were interviewed Tuesday night, Sept. 26. Councilmembers interviewed the eight candidates and will cast their vote at the Tuesday, Oct. 3, meeting.

On Sept. 7, the council appointed Councilman John Hamon to fill the mayoral vacancy created by the passing of Mayor Steve Martin. As a result of Hamon’s appointment as mayor, the District 1 council seat was immediately vacated. At the same meeting, after Hamon was sworn in as mayor, the council decided to fill the newly created vacancy in District 1 through an appointment process. 

During that meeting, the council determined that the process would be as follows:

  • By Sept. 11, the city clerk would post the vacancy and an application for interested individuals
  • The application period would remain open until Sept. 21 at 5 p.m.
  • Any interested member of the public may self-nominate by submitting a completed application for the position to the city clerk by 5 p.m. on Sept. 21
  • Interviews of all eligible candidates would be scheduled for a Special Council meeting set for Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 6:30 p.m.
  • If necessary, interviews will continue on Wednesday, Sept. 27, at a time in the morning to be determined 
  • Should a preferred applicant be identified through the interview process, the council will reconvene at the Oct. 3 meeting to make an appointment, and the clerk will swear in the new councilmember.

The City Clerk received applications from qualified individuals as follows (listed in alphabetical order by last name):

  1. Kris Beal
  2. Linda George
  3. Sarah Hinds-Martin
  4. Elizabeth Lee
  5. Joseph Manning
  6. Sharon Roden
  7. Michael Seden-Hansen
  8. Darryl Shaffer

According to the staff report, the “appointed Council member will serve until the next general municipal election in November 2024. At that time, a consolidated special election will be held for District 1, and the successful candidate will serve a two-year term until November 2026.”

Beal is a Paso Robles High School alumna and former nonprofit executive director.

George has a background as a campaign member and lobbyist.

Hinds-Martin is an employment benefit advisor who graduated from Morro Bay High School. She has worked with several local nonprofits in Paso Robles.

Lee is a real estate broker originally from Chicago and has also volunteered with many local nonprofits since moving here in 2004.

Manning comes to Paso Robles from King City and is currently working towards his Master’s degree in clinical psychology.

Roden is a farmer and fifth-generation San Luis Obispo County resident. Her focus is to help Paso Robles move forward while perserving its history.

Seden-Hansen is a former employee of the City of Paso Robles from 2008-14 and is familiar with the city’s governments.

Shaffer is another Paso Robles High School alumnus and retired State of California peace officer and licensed insurance producer.

Councilmembers asked the candidates about what they think the city’s strengths and weaknesses are and what their vision is for the city’s future.

Candidates’ full application can be found here

Councilmembers narrowed down the candidates to four, who were brought back for extended interviews. The candidates brought back were Roden, Lee, Hinds-Martin, and George. Following their questions, Hamon declared his vote for Roden, who he said had everything he wanted in a candidate. 

Councilmembers Steve Gregory and Chris Bausch both echoed Hamon and declared their support for Roden while Councilman Fred Strong said while Lee was his top candidate due to her diverse background, Roden was a close second. 

All councilmembers did say they hoped everyone who applied for the seat would stay involved in the community. 

Council made the motion to bring Roden back to the Oct. 3 meeting, where they will officially vote to appoint her as the District 1 councilmember.