FREMONT -- The City Council on Wednesday narrowed the list of 10 applicants vying for an open council seat, allowing six who received at least a pair of votes to make the cut.
During the 30-minute special meeting, Fremont council members listed their top five candidates in no particular order. David Bonaccorsi and Raj Salwan received the maximum four votes, while Christina Broadwin, Yogi Chugh and John J. Dutra each notched three votes. Rick Jones avoided elimination with two votes.
Those candidates will be interviewed in the council chambers at another special meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday. During the interviews, expected to last 35-40 minutes each, waiting candidates will be sequestered without electronic devices in a nearby room at City Hall, Mayor Bill Harrison said. After a candidate's interview is completed, he or she may stay to observe the rest of the meeting.
"We'll do a ranking after the interviews, then do a motion to whittle the six (candidates) down to three," Harrison said Wednesday. "We'll start again if we can't find a consensus."
Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan said that, during interviews, she will look for a candidate who demonstrates leadership skills, has knowledge of what a city council does and requires of its members and indicates he or she can work within a team.
"The larger context is, who's going to be a team player?" Natarajan said a day after the meeting. "You don't want to bring in someone who's going to have their own agenda."
The field has several applicants with political experience, including Salwan, a veterinarian and major property owner who is chair of the Tri-Cities Democratic Forum; Bonaccorsi, planning commission chair and partner in a Newark-based law firm; and Chugh, a corporate real estate firm executive active in the Indo-American community. Each is a planning commissioner who competed two years ago for a council appointment that eventually went to Dominic Dutra. Broadwin, head of the grass-roots group Save Kimber Park and the field's only female, is a political newcomer.
John J. Dutra, a developer serving on the economic development advisory commission, and Jones, a retired Fremont police officer, finished third and fourth, respectively, in the November council election.
The five-member council currently has just four members. The term of the open seat, which Harrison vacated last month when sworn in as mayor, expires in late 2014.
Under state law, the vacancy must be filled by Feb. 2, otherwise the city would hold a special election that could cost Fremont taxpayers more than $600,000, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.
Harrison emphasized during Wednesday's meeting that he does not favor a special election.
"I don't think any of us do," Natarajan said.
Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.