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Former EGUSD Superintendent Who Didn't Apply for Seat is Appointed to City Council

Robert Trigg will fill the District 4 vacancy left when Gary Davis was elected mayor.

In its second try to appoint a new council member, the Elk Grove City Council decided Wednesday night it would rather choose someone who hadn't applied than fail to agree on one of the five candidates who did and force a special election.

The council voted 3-1 to appoint former Elk Grove Unified School District Superintendent Robert L. Trigg to the city council. He'll represent District 4, vacated when Gary Davis was elected mayor.

Davis said at first, he hadn't thought much of an Elk Grove Citizen opinion column's suggestion to appoint Trigg, but then he called the former school official after a growing concern that the four council members wouldn't be able to agree on an appointee.

"The first thing out of his mouth was, 'Eh, you guys will be able to figure this out,'" Davis said. "I said if we can't, would you be willing to do this? The answer is he really doesn't want to do this, but he would."

Council Member Pat Hume, who nominated Trigg, said he would be "proud to have him answer the call to public service" and sit on the council.

Vice Mayor Steve Detrick said Trigg was "a great alternative" to the pricey special election that would have resulted from a deadlock.

 and was unable to choose a citizen to represent District 4.

Council Member Jim Cooper railed against the decision to appoint Trigg, who was not in attendance at the meeting.

"The public never had input in this process before the name was brought up after public comment was closed," Cooper said. "That is not transparency when a name is brought up at the last minute. You want transparency, you want public input. The public was excluded and that's poor policy."

Cooper was the sole no vote Wednesday night.

The candidates who did apply for the seat were:

  • Edward Busuttil, a San Joaquin County Assistant District Attorney.
  • Nancy D. Chaires, an Elk Grove Planning Commissioner who said she works hard to protect the best interests of local residents and wants to ensure they have the best representation possible.
  • David Conner, the CEO of RECON Networking, Inc.
  • LaWanna Montgomery, a recent mayoral candidate who has run for council two other times.
  • Oscar O'con, a business consultant who is involved in several Elk Grove organizations. 

Jeffrey Owen, a youth soccer coach and Vice President of Operations at School Innovations & Advocacy, removed himself from the running at the Jan. 9 meeting. 

The council also voted to nominate Busuttil during Wednesday's meeting, deadlocking 2-2.

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Tom Waltman January 25, 2013 at 07:40 PM
No, Sarah, I think they DID do what was best for the community. Gary and everyone else there realized that the process was flawed, and they found a solution that worked in the best interest of the community. They took the politics out of the equation, and found a person that the majority could agree upon. That is what good leaders do.
Sarah Johnson January 25, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Yes, at that point, it was the best answer. However, I want to hear the explanation for the Sophia Scherman fiasco, which may show us more than this issue has. Let's also hear how this flawed process will get fixed.
Marty January 25, 2013 at 09:42 PM
I too am anxious to hear an explanation about the Sophia S. fiasco and I believe Mayor Davis owes us an explanation.
Chris January 25, 2013 at 11:21 PM
It is interesting to note that Gary Davis who believes in transparency in government has not responded to numerous requests to explain his rationale in appointing Sophia Scherman to the planning commission. By not doing so, he is opening himself up to criticism from even his staunchest supporters who have stood by him through it all. It begs the question: Does it have anything to do with the Trigg appointment in that Herberger/Trigg/Scherman have a long-standing association? But if it does, Davis had to know that Detrick and Cooper would never go for it; so it was a win-win for Davis because he can say he tried, but it was vetoed by the council. Critics say Davis is a slick politician; so this would fit the bill.
JJ Johnson January 26, 2013 at 06:50 AM
Why would Davis respond to any of the "numerous requests" when he got what he wanted? He looked good, embarrassed Sophia, and allowed a battered and bruised council to agree on something.

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