Monday was the deadline for Eureka Ward 4 residents to submit applications to take up the open seat on the Eureka City Council, and four people applied.
Jeff Lamoree and Ron Pierre submitted applications on Friday, and Melinda Ciarabellini and Rex Bohn turned them in on Monday, all explaining their qualifications and experience. The council seat was vacated by Frank Jager after he took up the mantle as Eureka mayor.
The city council can choose to fill the seat either by special election or by having the mayor appoint a candidate with the council's approval. The mayor has a 30-day window, which opened when the position became vacant, to name his appointment,
Jager said he has put together a five-person committee to interview and recommend candidates for the seat. The committee members are Diane Wolff, Polly Endert, Marc Matteoli, Ken Anglin and Susan Gaxiola. They were scheduled to meet on Thursday, but due to a time conflict, it has been rescheduled to Monday.
Jager said he would like the person who is chosen to complete the last two years of his four-year term to be similar to him ideologically and someone who can work well with the rest of the council.
Pierre said he has 35 years of executive leadership experience, including his time as a U.S. Air Force Colonel. He retired from the military in 1995 and has been involved with nonprofit groups, private ventures and public entities. Most recently, he was campaign manager for Allison Jackson's campaign for Humboldt County District Attorney, and he volunteers as the area chair and ombudsman of the Employer Support of the Guard Reserve.
He moved to Eureka about nine years ago to be with family, and he said he has “an investment in moving the community forward.”
Fellow applicant Ciarabellini recently retired from her 33-year career in law enforcement and corrections. She was previously a correctional captain and acted as jail commander for the Humboldt County jail, and she also worked for the California Corrections Standards Authority. Ciarabellini said she has worked her entire life as a public servant.
”It's a passion of mine, and it's something I want to continue into my retirement,” she said.
The 31-year resident of Eureka said she has no specific agenda but does have a vision for the city. The key issues facing Eureka are the budget, ensuring children receive a “good, quality education” and encouraging economic development to bring jobs and businesses to the area “that agree with our vision for the future,” Ciarabellini said.
Bohn made a run for the council seat about six years ago. He said he essentially “grew up in the Fourth Ward,” and he would like to see Eureka be more job-friendly.
”We can't create jobs, but we can fix the atmosphere of the city where jobs can be provided,” Bohn said.
He considers himself a youth advocate, and in line with those goals, he is president of Redwood Fields and of Redwood Empire Little League. Although he will have an eye on how to build a better business atmosphere if put on the council, he said he would also look at how council decisions will impact the community's youth.
Bohn said he has seen the “highs and lows” of Eureka over the years, and is familiar with the needs of the city.
”I know what Eureka has to offer,” Bohn said.
The final applicant, Lamoree, has lived in Eureka for about 43 years and said he is both a team player and an independent thinker. He is currently president of the Sequoia Park Zoo Foundation board but plans to step down at the end of the year. The budget shortfall, new city management and the best plan for water rates are all issues coming up soon for the council.
He would also like to see the Marina Center move forward, the combining of the Eureka Fire Department with the Humboldt Fire Protection District No. 1, the annexation of the greater Eureka area and the city become more welcoming to new businesses.
The committee will review all four applications, interview the candidates and then make a recommendation to the mayor.
Staff writer Allison White can be reached at 441-0506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.