CLAYTON -- Vice Mayor Joe Medrano resigned from office Monday, three days after his conviction on one count of felony embezzlement.
Medrano, in an email to fellow council members, said he was doing so "to allow the city to begin moving past these unfortunate circumstances." He said his resignation was effective Thursday, the day a jury found him guilty in a Redwood City courtroom after an eight-day criminal trial.
Tuesday's Clayton City Council meeting -- the first without Medrano -- includes honoring local students for taking part in the council's character education program, "Do the Right Thing," which Councilman David Shuey found "a little bit ironic."
"He's done the right thing," said Shuey. "This is a very unfortunate situation for him and his family. But he has been a very significant contributor to the betterment of Clayton."
The resignation comes amid Medrano's bid for a second term on the council in a race with five candidates running for three seats. His conviction and resignation come too late for his name to be removed from the ballot.
In his resignation statement, Medrano thanked friends and family for continuing to stand by him and wrote that he was "surprised and disappointed" by the verdict.
Medrano, an insurance broker, was accused of taking $159,000 from a Redwood Shores-based client and never forwarding the money to the insurance company. He pleaded not guilty and fought the claims throughout the court
"I will be filing an appeal and hope to have the verdict reversed on appeal," Medrano wrote. "I had fully expected to be found not guilty and this matter to be behind me. Unfortunately, the process will take more time."
Medrano is not the first politician facing re-election and a criminal trial at the same time in San Mateo County. In 2011, then-Daly City Councilwoman Maggie Gomez pleaded no contest to two felony counts of insurance fraud stemming from a phony knee injury claim she used to collect medical leave from her job at Seton Medical Center in Daly City.
Voters re-elected Gomez as the case made its way through the courts, but she resigned a day before pleading no contest to the charges and was later sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Shuey expects the council will work with four members until after the election. The three winners will be sworn into office at the council's first meeting in December.
Medrano, who remains out of custody on his own recognizance, is due in court at 9 a.m. Dec. 12 for sentencing. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.