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Atherton council opts to appoint new member to fill vacant seat

Vice Mayor Mike Lempres resigned to move to Paris with a year left on his term in office

The Atherton Council Chambers. Photo by Michelle Le.

The Atherton City Council will appoint a new member in November, to fill the seat of Vice Mayor Mike Lempres, who resigned and moved to Paris with over a year left on his term.

During the Oct. 20 meeting, the council, which now has four members, voted to appoint a new member rather than hold a special election to fill his seat. They also decided to hold off on selecting a new vice mayor until the council reorganizes at that same Dec. 15 meeting.

A notice of the opening was posted Friday (Oct. 22) and applications are due Friday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m. The council plans to interview candidates and appoint a new member at a special meeting in mid-November. Council members plan to have a ceremonial appointment during the December meeting, said Town Manager George Rodericks in an email.

The council's appointee will serve until the end of Lempres' term in November 2022.

A special election would cost the town between $15,000 and $30,000, according to a report prepared by the town staff and the soonest it could be held is June 2022.

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Lempres, who resigned Oct. 15, took his consulting work to Europe this fall. His daughter is attending middle school in France.

Per town code, the council has until Dec. 14 -- 60 days from the beginning of Lempres' departure -- to fill the vacancy.

The council has been meeting virtually since March 2020.

Council reacts to Lempres' resignation

Atherton Vice Mayor Mike Lempres. Courtesy Mike Lempres.

Mayor Elizabeth Lewis said she's supported Lempres since he first ran for council in 2014 and will miss his "good-natured approach to difficult issues."

"He brought a different perspective with intelligent and probing questions, which caused me to rethink my approach," she said in an email. "More often than not we would find middle ground and come to compromise. I wish him and his family all the best!"

Councilman Rick DeGolia said Lempres approached issues "very thoughtfully and responsibly."

Lempres asked staff for information when he hasn't known the answer, DeGolia said. For example, Lempres asked staff to provide a monthly report of the number of construction projects in the penalty zone and the aggregate amount of fees charged so the council knew the impact of its decision to remove a previously existing cap on penalties charged to builders who take more than three years to complete construction, DeGolia said.

"Being on a City Council is extremely time-consuming and Mike always helped meetings be efficient by underscoring others when he agreed with an earlier comment, rather than repeating the comment," DeGolia said in an email. "At the end of the day, he worked hard to represent those that elected him and not just to hear himself speak."

Councilman Bill Widmer said Lempres always offered "well thought out" and "logical" comments while on the council.

"He and I spent time together discussing them over a cup of coffee, walking at the park," Widmer said in an email. "Or on a call between business meetings. Mike was a great family man. He cherished his time with his daughter and as such she was a frequent visitor to the old city hall, leaving her artwork on the white boards bringing smiles to everyone's faces."

Email the application to Deputy City Manager/City Clerk Anthony Suber at [email protected] or drop it off at 80 Fair Oaks Lane, Atherton, CA 94027.

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Atherton council opts to appoint new member to fill vacant seat

Vice Mayor Mike Lempres resigned to move to Paris with a year left on his term in office

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 21, 2021, 5:01 pm

The Atherton City Council will appoint a new member in November, to fill the seat of Vice Mayor Mike Lempres, who resigned and moved to Paris with over a year left on his term.

During the Oct. 20 meeting, the council, which now has four members, voted to appoint a new member rather than hold a special election to fill his seat. They also decided to hold off on selecting a new vice mayor until the council reorganizes at that same Dec. 15 meeting.

A notice of the opening was posted Friday (Oct. 22) and applications are due Friday, Nov. 12, at 5 p.m. The council plans to interview candidates and appoint a new member at a special meeting in mid-November. Council members plan to have a ceremonial appointment during the December meeting, said Town Manager George Rodericks in an email.

The council's appointee will serve until the end of Lempres' term in November 2022.

A special election would cost the town between $15,000 and $30,000, according to a report prepared by the town staff and the soonest it could be held is June 2022.

Lempres, who resigned Oct. 15, took his consulting work to Europe this fall. His daughter is attending middle school in France.

Per town code, the council has until Dec. 14 -- 60 days from the beginning of Lempres' departure -- to fill the vacancy.

The council has been meeting virtually since March 2020.

Mayor Elizabeth Lewis said she's supported Lempres since he first ran for council in 2014 and will miss his "good-natured approach to difficult issues."

"He brought a different perspective with intelligent and probing questions, which caused me to rethink my approach," she said in an email. "More often than not we would find middle ground and come to compromise. I wish him and his family all the best!"

Councilman Rick DeGolia said Lempres approached issues "very thoughtfully and responsibly."

Lempres asked staff for information when he hasn't known the answer, DeGolia said. For example, Lempres asked staff to provide a monthly report of the number of construction projects in the penalty zone and the aggregate amount of fees charged so the council knew the impact of its decision to remove a previously existing cap on penalties charged to builders who take more than three years to complete construction, DeGolia said.

"Being on a City Council is extremely time-consuming and Mike always helped meetings be efficient by underscoring others when he agreed with an earlier comment, rather than repeating the comment," DeGolia said in an email. "At the end of the day, he worked hard to represent those that elected him and not just to hear himself speak."

Councilman Bill Widmer said Lempres always offered "well thought out" and "logical" comments while on the council.

"He and I spent time together discussing them over a cup of coffee, walking at the park," Widmer said in an email. "Or on a call between business meetings. Mike was a great family man. He cherished his time with his daughter and as such she was a frequent visitor to the old city hall, leaving her artwork on the white boards bringing smiles to everyone's faces."

Email the application to Deputy City Manager/City Clerk Anthony Suber at [email protected] or drop it off at 80 Fair Oaks Lane, Atherton, CA 94027.

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