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Sunnyvale Appoints New Council Member

Former Sunnyvale Mayor Anthony Spitaleri will become the newest member of the Sunnyvale City Council. On Feb. 8, the City Council appointed Spitaleri to fill out the remainder of former council member Mason Fong’s term.

Spitaleri will fill Seat #3 on the Council until Jan. 3, 2023, when the newly elected district council members are sworn in.

The Council chose Spitaleri from a pool of nine applicants. The process stalled late in voting when the Council arrived at a three-to-three tie between Spitaleri and another former mayor of Sunnyvale, Jim Griffith.

Council Member Russ Melton said it was “lamentable” that the vote was coming down to “a game of chicken.” He suggested a coin toss to resolve the issue.

“I’ll respect the result of a coin toss because the two candidates are just too good,” said Melton.

However, Council Member Glenn Hendricks rejected the idea of a coin toss, saying that as a representative of the City, sometimes you must make a decision that you don’t personally like.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, you got to go on the record for what your decision is,” said Hendricks.

The Council took a final vote and unanimously chose Spitaleri to fill the open seat. Hendricks was the first to change his vote in the interest of coming to a consensus, but he requested that the process be reevaluated. He said a closed-door discussion might have been in the better interest of everyone involved.

“We have two very good candidates. In our zeal of trying to take our position and get something done, we’ve lost that,” said Hendricks. “These are two very good people that either one of them is going to serve the members and the residents of Sunnyvale very well and that’s why I’m easily able to make the change from Jim to Tony.”

Spitaleri last served on the Council from 2005 to 2014.

In his application, Spitaleri wrote, “Public service is a calling that not everyone wants or has. I have the desire and experience to serve when I can and am able to…When Sunnyvale needs help, I feel like it’s my obligation to step forward.”

By appointing a person to fill Seat #3 on the City Council, Sunnyvale will save money on an election that would have cost the City upwards of $3.1 million.

Seat #3 is an at-large seat that will transfer to a district-based seat in the November elections. It was vacated in November 2021, when Fong resigned to take a positing in Governor Gavin Newsom’s office.

 

 

 

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2 Comments
  1. Jen from Sunnyvale 3 months ago
    Reply

    As a 25 year Sunnyvale resident, I believe both Spitaleri and Griffith are qualified, and would make excellent council members. That being said, having carefully watched Spitaleri and Griffith over many years regarding multiple issues, I would have strongly supported Griffith as the newly appointed Council member. Griffith has leadership skills, logic, fiscal responsibility, and a demeanor that is top-notch.
    I find it odd that the two newer Council members (Cisneros and Din), who likely have NO extensive direct experience dealing with Spitaleri or Griffith, were immovable in their opinions – And continued to support Spitaleri. When this process deadlocked, this should have gone to closed session for a full discussion, so nuances regarding the two candidates could have been discussed in closed session, before a final vote. I think there are nuances regarding each candidate that were important to discuss out of public view. Just my humble opinion.
    IMO- Jim Griffith was the better applicant.

  2. Jen from Sunnyvale 3 months ago
    Reply

    Very glad that Council did not deadlock to the point of an actual election needing to be held. Spending over a million dollars on an election would have been crazy.
    As mentioned during the meeting on Feb 8, this Council appointment process needs to be modified, because likely there will be future need for this type of procedure.
    As with any HR decisions, when considering candidates, a closed session needs to be conducted, so delicate personal information can be discussed between council members out of the public view. Voting & the reasons for supporting a specific applicant should be public, but some of the particular applicant discussions, weaknesses, experience (or lack of experience), etc. should be closed session out of respect for all parties involved.

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