The Menlo Park City Council on Wednesday delayed appointing Ray Mueller’s successor to the District 5 seat until next year, drawing concern that residents of the district will not have a say in who will be their next representative.
The City Council was expected to appoint a candidate to fill the remainder of Mueller’s term at its meeting Wednesday. Eleven residents have applied to succeed Mueller, who is departing to join the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. But after interviewing applicants, the Council decided to postpone making an appointment until Monday, Jan. 9, which is six days after Mueller’s final day on the Council.
“I think the decision was a terrible mistake, to exclude the representative of District 5 from voting who will represent the district moving forward,” said Mueller. “I have been an elected representative of this district for ten years.”
For the first time in recent memory, Menlo Park will be without a full City Council. Since councilmembers are elected by district, District 5 will have no representative on the Council.
“No resident of District 5 can even hold the other members of the Council responsible for this decision,” continued Mueller. “It is incredibly troubling.”
During Wednesday’s meeting, Councilmembers Drew Combs, Cecilia Taylor and Betsy Nash advocated for continuing the meeting in order to have more time to decide on the appointment. Following Mueller’s election to the Board of Supervisors in November, the Council opted to appoint his successor rather than go the route of a special election.
Mueller was elected to the District 5 Council seat in 2020, and has served on the City Council since 2012.
District 5 borders Stanford University to the West and include the Sharon Heights and West Menlo Park neighborhoods.
This is a developing story.