The Cloverdale City Council appointed a new mayor and vice mayor during its meeting on Dec. 11. The council appointed Vice Mayor Gus Wolter as mayor and Councilmember Jason Turner as vice mayor.
Both Wolter and Turner were appointed with a 4-1 vote, outgoing Mayor Melanie Bagby, Vice Mayor Wolter and Councilmembers Mary Ann Brigham and Turner voting yes to both appointments, Councilmember Marta Cruz voting no.
Following the vote to appoint a mayor, Cruz said that she wanted to suggest reappointing Bagby as mayor, and referenced the recent reappointment of Dominic Foppoli as mayor of Windsor (traditionally, vice mayors are appointed as mayor following their year as vice mayor, though recent Sonoma County councils have chosen to not follow that model).
In a message to the Reveille on Dec. 12, Cruz referred to the appointment decision as the “old dirty politics of small town ways.”
When asked to explain her stance against the decisions, Cruz said that she believes she “was more prepared to be vice mayor,” and referenced Turner’s comment earlier on in the evening regarding the difficulty he has being able to attend subcommittee and regional board meetings that take place during regular business hours, since he has to navigate a full-time work schedule.
She also stated that she felt that the “other councilmembers did not take into account the amount of experience,” that Cruz has when deciding who would be appointed, and referenced her being top vote getter during the 2018 city council election (Turner and Wolter received the second and third amount of votes, respectively).
Cruz said that to her, Turner’s scheduling comment was a sign that at this moment in his life, he doesn’t have time to devote to certain parts of the vice mayor role.
“While I understand that concern and I respect that concern, I believe that we have (systems) in place to accommodate those schedules,” Turner said in response. “I firmly believe that Marta and Melanie bring a huge advantage in being able to attend those regional meetings, and I applaud them for that.”
Turner continued that, by being able to accommodate scheduling concerns of councilmembers who have to navigate job schedules in addition to their time serving on the council, the city will be able to diversify the age of those on the council.