RICHMOND -- The City Council will hold a special meeting Thursday night to set a Jan. 31 deadline for candidates to declare interest in the council seat vacated by Councilman-elect Gary Bell's health troubles.
The 7:30 p.m. meeting will be an opportunity for the council to establish the deadline and set a Feb. 4 special meeting to attempt to appoint a replacement for Bell, who remains hospitalized after falling into a coma following his Nov. 6 election with what his family has said is a severe sinus infection.
According to the city charter, the council has 60 days from the vacancy date to appoint a replacement by a majority vote. If no replacement can get four of the six council votes, a special election must be held June 4. City Clerk Diane Holmes has said an election may cost as much as $200,000.
According to state law, a special election must be called at least 114 days before voters go to the polls. A staff report said that gives the city until Feb. 10 to appoint a replacement for Bell or call for a special election.
"If the public meeting (to hear from candidates interested in the appointment) occurs on Feb. 4 and we appoint someone, we're done," the staff report read. "If not, then the Council will be able to approve a resolution calling for a June 4 special election the next day at our Feb. 5 meeting."
Three of the six council members have said they support progressive candidate Eduardo Martinez, who finished just
Kathleen Sullivan, Don Gosney, Mike Ali-Kinney and Jael Myrick have announced their candidacies as well.