Mayor Pro Tempore (for the time being) for Yountville?

Yountville is a small Town, and sometimes fewer people get involved with our Town Council (not the case, thankfully, this year). Some election cycles have Council members running unopposed. Would a Mayor Pro Tem help to change that? With our current mayor stepping onto a bigger stage and two council seats open for election, now might be the time to consider a new way to have a seated Mayor in Yountville.

In many municipalities, Councilmembers are elected by the public, and then the Councilmembers elect a Mayor and a Mayor Pro Tem. The Mayor term can be for any determined time, usually two years, and the Mayor Pro Tem (Vice Mayor) is the next person to step into the Mayor role.

Let’s look at an example: Novato is a “general law” city, which means its governance structure is specified by state law, and its Council selects the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for one-year terms. The Mayor signs official documents, presides at Council meetings, and acts as the official head of the City at public and ceremonial occasions but has no additional power on the Council. Of California’s 478 cities, 108 of them are charter cities. So really, no different from the current way we do things in Yountville.

The interesting here is that Novato has district elections similar to what Napa just started doing two years ago. Also, several Councilmembers have served multiple times as Mayor, some seven times. Some municipal codes state that the Council rotates the Mayor position to the most senior Councilmember. Is that the right decision?

If there were to be a change in how the Town of Yountville chooses/appoints a Mayor, it would have to go to the voters. Would this work for Yountville? In Yountville, the Mayor has the same “power” as a Councilmember and most importantly, they have one vote, no more. Some days I think it’s a good idea and then the more I watch the Town Council meetings I change my mind. What do you think?

Sample Municipal Code

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