Two Galt councilmen who are up for re-election surprised a sparse audience Tuesday night when they announced that they plan to resign before the November election.
Shortly before 8 p.m., Councilman Andrew Meredith went first, telling the crowd that he is buying a house in Flournoy. Councilman Darryl Clare then followed, saying he plans to cut his term short because he is traveling more for work and is moving to Southern California.
"It's bittersweet to not be able to finish out the term, especially because both of us had hoped to at least get through the end," Clare said.
Meredith and Clare both said they did not know the other one was making an announcement about resigning. They made the announcements toward the end of the meeting during council communications.
Afterward, while chuckling, Mayor Randy Shelton asked, "Are there any other communications or surprises?"
After the meeting, City Clerk Liz Aguire said she couldn't help but laugh when Meredith made his announcement because she knew Clare was also planning to tell the council he was leaving.
Councilman Donald Haines thanked both Meredith and Clare for their service.
"Obviously, you are going on to bigger and better things," Haines said.
Both councilmen still need to submit their final resignation letters. Clare has not decided when he will officially resign, and Meredith said he plans to close escrow on the house in June and continue on the council through the second meeting of June.
From the date that the councilmen submit their resignation, the council has 30 days to either appoint replacements or decide to leave the positions vacant until the November election, City Attorney Steve Rudolph said. If the council appoints a replacement, they will have to run in November if they want to keep the position for four years.
Clare said he wanted to announce early before submitting a resignation letter so he could give the council time to figure out what to do.
Meredith and Clare both agreed it was also important to give extra time to prospective candidates who might consider running.
"Some people do not want to run against incumbents because they are harder to unseat," Clare said.
Clare leaves for new job
Clare moved to Galt in 1994 and joined the council in 2002, so he is in his second term.
He has worked in the defense industry for more than 20 years, and in February become president and CEO of MSM Industries, a business located in Corona.
His company is working with the Navy to build a destroyer that will use technology and engineering similar to stealth materials for submarines.
Usually he spends six weeks a year in Washington, D.C. for his job, but he has already spent that amount of time traveling during the first four months of this year.
Also, because Clare often works on classified projects, there may be times when he will be out of contact.
"It's just not going to remain feasible to stay on the council," he said.
He said he had to make a choice between serving the citizens of Galt or serving the country by focusing on designing the defense equipment.
His major priority on the council was to give Galt a greater voice in regional government by joining a variety of commissions, including the League of California Cities.
"I felt Galt was not getting their fair share of their tax dollars back into the region," Clare said.
He is also proud of drafting a new General Plan, and that the Central Galt interchange project is fully funded. Clare said he was able to secure $18 million through regional government for the project, which will relieve traffic congestion.
Meredith buys new home
Meredith was elected in 2006 and is serving his first term on council.
Meredith will be buying a house in Flournoy, which is in a rural area in between Redding and Sacramento. He has been splitting time between the two cities because of his job, so this will make the commute easier, he said. He works as an organizer and business development representative for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 340.
He also is excited to live in a bigger house on a larger lot with his wife, he said.
"My kids will be able to grow up in the country, in a place where they don't even deliver the mail to your house — you have to go to the country store," Meredith said.
The couple was able to find the house before the Federal Housing Tax Credit of $6,500 for current homeowners expired.
"Because of the rebate, it pushed the timeline along," he said.
They plan to rent out their house in Galt.
During his time on council, he is most proud of his push for solar and green technology.
"It will probably start bearing the fruit long after I am off the council," Meredith said.
He is also proud of the prescription card program, which provides discount cards to citizens that they can use at any Galt pharmacy.
He also is excited that the Central Galt interchange is moving along, and pointed to the establishment of the city's first dog park as a success.