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Cypress City Council determines course of action to fill vacated seat

During the regular meeting of the Cypress City Council on July 12, 2021, the Council handled issues resulting from the resignation of Mayor Pro Tem Stacy Berry.

First, the Council selected a new Mayor Pro Tem, unanimously appointing Councilmember Paolo Morales to the position. Mayor Pro Tem Morales also assumed a number of organization and committee roles previously held by Stacy Berry, which are traditionally held by the current Mayor Pro Tem, while the remainder were left vacant for the time being.

The Council then had to determine the process for filling the empty position on the City Council; California state law and the Cypress City Charter require that the vacancy be filled within 60 days or a special election be called to fill the vacancy. Beyond that, the City Council is given a great deal of leeway as to how the vacancy is filled.

City Manager Pete Grant presented the Council with two options initially: to call a special election or to appoint a new City Council Member without a vote from the public. The County Registrar of Voters estimated the cost of a special election to be approximately $250,000. The Council opted for the appointment process.

They then had to decide whether to simply appoint an eligible person to the position or to conduct an application and interview process.

During the Council meeting, Blaze Bhence and Carrie Hayashida requested that the Council appoint the candidate who came in third during the 2020 election. Both Mr. Bhence and Ms. Hayashida ran along with a crowded bench of seven other candidates for the two open seats, which were ultimately filled by Anne Hertz and Frances Marquez. Ms. Hayashisa came in third place.

The Council opted to hold an application and interview process, and then set down a basic timetable for application acceptance and the interviews. The deadline to make an appointment or trigger a special election is September 3.

If you would like to apply to the City Council, information is available at the Cypress City website. Applicants must be registered to vote, a Cypress resident, and cannot have served on the City Council for eight or more years (which includes all previous members of the City Council since the turn of the century). Interviews will be held August 9-13, 2021, and applicants will be required to appear in-person.

The next regular meeting of the Cypress City Council is scheduled for August 23, 2021. As of this time, public seating is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, but members of the public are invited to participate virtually. Links to the webinar are available through the meeting agenda, which is published online at the City website in advance of the meeting.


  1. Again, silencing the public as to who will be on the city council. $250,000 is too much to pay for the people to have a voice in who will sit on their city Council? I think NOT!
    Again, a government group that is playing politics and promoting their buddy system.

    1. Mrs. Hathcock,

      Thank you for reading Orange County Breeze, and for taking the time to comment on this article.

      The Cypress City Council considered more than the estimated cost of $250,000 in its decision to appoint rather than call a special election.

      Allow me to explain some of those other considerations.

      Due to a recently enacted change in election law, California State Government Code §36512(b)(1) requires a special election to be held in conjunction with a regularly established election rather than as a stand-alone election. The Code further requires that the election date be at least 114 days from its announcement.

      Because of these two requirements, the next possible date for a special election to fill the seat vacated by Stacy Berry would be the regular election scheduled for April 12, 2022. The possible date of November 2, 2021 cannot be used because it is too soon — fewer than 114 days. The upcoming gubernatorial recall election does not qualify because it is not a regularly established election.

      Waiting for the April 12, 2021 election would leave the City Council with four members for almost a year. The possibility that the City’s business could not be conducted in a timely fashion would be greatly increased.

      Further, the newly-elected Council member would be seated in May 2022, leaving him or her only six months left in the unexpired term before facing another election in November 2022.

      Finally, nothing is stopping any qualified person interested in becoming a Council member from applying for the position, including any or all of the candidates from last November’s election who trailed the two who were elected, Anne Hertz and Frances Marquez.

      Information on how to apply is available on the City’s website at https://www.cypressca.org/government/city-council-vacancy-applications.

      Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze.

      Shelley Henderson
      editor, Orange County Breeze

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