Council gets a do-over

When it comes to addressing Planning Commission vacancies, the third time was the charm for the Costa Mesa City Council.

After committing a procedural error in January, a majority of the council earlier this month approved a complete do-over of the appointment process for vacant Planning Commission seats of two four-year terms and one two-year term.

As a result of that decision, Colin McCarthy, who has been serving as the commission's chairman, was unanimously reappointed to the five-member board for another four years on Tuesday night. Timothy Sesler, an attorney, also received a four-year term.

Jim Fitzpatrick, a former planning commissioner who recently resigned as a director of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District, received the two-year term with a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Sandy Genis dissenting. Councilwoman Wendy Leece was absent.

Mayor Jim Righeimer called the pool of nearly 15 applicants a "deep bench" of skilled people in the city.

"It's a healthy community when we have this many qualified people applying for a Planning Commission position," Righeimer said.

Genis had nominated Daniel Hoffman, a businessman with experience in development and construction, but her motion failed to gain a second.

Fitzpatrick will serve until February 2015, the remainder of former Commissioner Edward Salcedo's term. Salcedo, president of GCAP Services, a Costa Mesa-based professional consulting firm, resigned Jan. 14 citing unspecified personal and business reasons.

After approval from City Attorney Tom Duarte, on Jan. 15 the council appointed Fitzpatrick, who resigned his Sanitary District seat the day before, to fill the vacancy resulting from Salcedo's sudden resignation — an action done with one-day's notice that, the city clerk's office later ruled, did not comply with state guidelines.

As of press time, the council had also unanimously approved its consent calendar, which included initiating an auditing process for the Costa Mesa Country Club and the acquisition of upgraded digital recording systems for 49 Police Department vehicles.

The nearly $321,000 needed for the systems will be appropriated from the Police Department's narcotics asset forfeiture fund.

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