After nearly 15 hours of public and closed-door meetings over the last two months, the Dublin City Council Monday night voted 3-1 to appoint former planning commissioner Doreen Wehrenberg to fill Mayor David Haubert's seat on the council.
Even Monday's special meeting wasn't decisive for the first hour as the council voted repeatedly on a number of candidates, either locked in a 2-2 vote or often without a councilman's nomination failing to even gain a second supporting vote.
It took three votes to make the decision and in the end Haubert threw his support to the recommendation of Councilmen Don Biddle and Kevin Hart to vote for Wehrenberg while Vice Mayor Abe Gupta continued in his opposition, casting the one vote against her nomination.
The Dublin council's ongoing debate over who should fill the seat vacated by Councilman Haubert when he was elected mayor last November has been closely watched and much discussed throughout the Tri-Valley where other city councils generally handle these issues more rapidly and often differently.
Pleasanton's council, for example, long ago decided against filling vacancies by appointment, choosing instead to pay the costs of holding a special election to let voters decide. Councilwoman Kathy Narum first won her council seat in 2013 in a mail-in ballot election after Councilman Jerry Thorne was elected mayor in 2012.
But the four Dublin councilmen said they couldn't support spending an estimated $300,000 to hold a special election or at least half that for a vote-by-mail election to choose Haubert's replacement for a term that will expire in November, 2016.
Most of the 19 speakers at Monday night's meeting agreed, although many also favored the special election option if the council couldn't reach a decision by Jan. 31. That's the date the council had to make a decision or give Gov. Jerry Brown the option of intervening by law and making the appointment.
Nine women and three men were under consideration for the vacancy. They included a number of candidates who currently serve on city commissions and committees, including several who had sought election to the council in earlier races.
Gupta favored Dublin school board vice president Dan Cunningham for the vacant council post, and he also nominated former planning Commissioner Lynn Do at last month's meeting, but she did not get a second vote.
But many supported Wehrenberg, including former Councilwoman Claudia McCormick. Councilman Kevin Hart said he had received 200 emails and many phone calls on the selection process.
The council wasted no time in seating Wehrenberg, asking City Clerk Caroline Soto to administer the oath of office within minutes after the vote.
Wehrenberg then took her seat next to Hart.
"I appreciate everyone's support," she said. "I also want to thank all the other applicants. It's been a very difficult time for all of us and a very long process."
Before adjourning the meeting, Haubert and others on the council reminded those in the chamber that a regular municipal election is scheduled for November 2016.
At that time, because the mayor's term is for two-year segments, Haubert will need to seek re-election, if he chooses. Councilman Hart will be termed out and Wehrenberg, who is filling former Councilman Haubert's unexpired term that ends in 2016, will also have to seek re-election if she chooses to stay on the council.