Despite city elections taking place last week, the Nevada City Council already has a vacancy that needs to be filled.
Councilman Brett Barker announced his resignation from his Ward 3 seat last week after he found out he no longer lives within the Ward 3 boundaries.
Brett and his family moved to a home along Eighth Street in July. During the Nov. 12 council meeting, Brett’s wife, Tracy, said prior to signing for the house, they used both the city’s and county’s websites to determine what ward the house was in. The city’s said the house was in Ward 3, while the county’s said Ward 2. When they called to check with the city, they were told the county maps were wrong and the city’s were right, Tracy said.
City Administrator Elizabeth Hansen said the city was not aware a newer map existed at the time the Barkers approached them and believed the city’s map was correct.
However, when Brett went to vote at the Ward 3 polling location Tuesday, Nov. 5, he was told he was at the wrong polling location - he instead needed to go to the Ward 2 polling location. It turns out the city’s website had a 2009 ward map, which was outdated- the county’s map was correct. Brett said the news that he was no longer a Ward 3 resident was both "surprising and disappointing."
He said when his family was looking for a new home, they wanted to find a place that was in Ward 3 so he could remain a councilman. If he had known the home they chose was in Ward 2, rather than Ward 3, he would have resigned from the council in July.
Council spent time during Monday night’s meeting discussing with the Barkers what went wrong. Hansen suggested the city put a link on their website that directs community members to the county’s ward map to prevent a similar situation from happening again.
"It’s a hurtful embarassment for all of us," said councilman Ray Schwichtenberg.
It was decided during the meeting that the council would appoint someone to fill the position. Applications will be taken and a committee will review them and make a recommendation to council. The seat could be filled as soon as Dec. 9, according to the council action form.
Barker stated in his resignation letter that he has enjoyed his time as a councilman.
"I am grateful for the honor and privilege to have served the residents of Nevada on the City Council for the past four years," Barker wrote in his resignation letter. "We have overcome many obstacles, and I believe there is much that we have accomplished. Going forward, it is my hope that the Nevada City Council continues to work diligently for the betterment of our community."