Now that newly elected Stockton City Council members have been sworn in, Mayor Kevin Lincoln will set about the task of appointing a new vice mayor.
The new vice mayor will replace former vice mayor Cristina Fugazi, who termed out of office at the end of the year.
“Typically, the vice mayor is… selected at the new term, following the general election,” said Lincoln. “My practice is to ensure that selection happens within the first 100 days of term.”
By that timeline, the vice mayor selection should happen no later than the April 4 council meeting.
While the mayor wants to stick to his 100 day timeline, he said, “We’re barely a few weeks into the new year, and we’ve been rattled with the 200 year storms we’ve had to deal with.”
While the position is “largely ceremonial,” Lincoln said, the position requires a “certain level of trust. It would have to be a person that would assume the role of mayor should I be absent. That person would be a reflection and extension of myself throughout the community”
The mayor remained mum on whether there was a frontrunner in the selection process, but said “We’re just getting that going, scheduling the evaluation process,” Lincoln said. “Half of the council has turned over, and it’s an opportunity for incumbent members and new members to express interest.”
Each of the council members “has unique strengths… and passions they bring to the dias and to the City of Stockton. I have trust in every single member of those council members.
“I will make a decision in the best interest of the City of Stockton. I hope they will be a good partner, and have experience in the community that will help us move forward.”
Although the selection process hasn’t happened, the evaluation process has already started. “We work through a series of exercises within the first hundred days,” Lincoln said. “We want to assess their level of engagement and their priorities.”
It’s also important that the vice mayor is “actively engaged with the community, and has (a) collaborative leadership (approach) with council members and constituents, not only those the person was elected to represent, but the city as a whole.”
Ideally, the mayor will select someone who is professional, compassionate, and disciplined, who has a servant leader approach, he said. “We want someone who is studious, a good listener and is trustworthy. When it’s all said and done, the vice mayor has to have the best interest of Stockton residents at heart, not only now, but in the future.
“I should just say that as part of this selection process, it’s important for me to learn why they’re interested,” Lincoln said. “Regardless of who is selected… I have full confidence our council will continue to build upon the culture … we’ve built in the past two years.