A current councilmember will be appointed and sworn into the mayor’s seat on Thursday

PASO ROBLES — A special meeting will be held on Thursday to appoint someone to fill the vacant mayor’s seat after the passing of Mayor Steve Martin in August. During the Tuesday, Sept. 5, meeting, Paso Robles City Council made a decision to appoint a current City Councilmember to fill the position.

During the Tuesday night meeting, the City Council discussed whether to appoint someone to fill the seat or to hold a special election. Members of the public also came forward to express how they want the council to handle the vacancy. With the passing of Martin, the council has 60 days to fill the vacant seat by appointment or must call for a general election at least 114 days after the vacancy.

Resident Michael Rivera, who ran against Martin in 2022, bid himself to be appointed to fill the seat, explaining that he was the only other mayoral candidate last year. 

“I’m the only one in this last election cycle who ran,” said Rivera. “It’s sad that we are in this position to lose the mayor. I never had any ill will with Mr. Martin. We had policy disagreements, obviously, and I felt it was time for change. And if you think about it, sometimes you need a different point of view on your City Council.”

Other residents expressed they either did not want to spend the money for a special election, or they wanted to find a way to make the cost for an election lower. Then some said they wanted to appoint current Mayor Pro Tem John Hamon to be mayor.

Councilmember Steve Gregory said he would like to see someone who is currently on City Council be appointed as mayor since they already have been working together as a team.

“I think Mr. Hamon would do a good job if that is what he wants to do,” said Gregory. “But I think it’s important to bring solidarity to council and our city and not rock the boat, so to speak.”

Councilmembers Fred Strong and Chris Bausch echoed Gregory’s proposal. However, both noted that a new candidate will need to be found to fill the impending vacant councilman seat. Whoever ends up being appointed to the mayor’s seat will serve the remainder of the term until November 2026.

At the end, the City Council unanimously agreed to hold a special meeting this Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6:30 p.m. to pursue the appointment of a current councilmember to the mayor’s seat, swear them in, and make a decision on how to fill the then vacant City Council seat — either by another appointment by appication or to hold a special election for the councilman’s representing district.

The next regular Paso Robles City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m.