Mayoral appointment power safe after proposed ballot measure fails to gain support

The power of the mayor to make appointments for vacancies on the Board of Supervisors will remain intact after a ballot measure proposal to strip the power failed to gain board support Tuesday.

Supervisor John Avalos fell short in receiving the six votes needed to place the Let's Elect Our Elected Officials Act on the November ballot, which he said would ensure a separation of powers, restrict the power of incumbency to elections and curb power plays by small groups of people.

But a majority of board members were not convinced, saying the current system of the mayor's appointment authority, though not perfect, would work better.

Under current rules, when a vacancy occurs on the Board of Supervisors, the mayor appoints someone to fill that seat and at a subsequent election, that person would need to run for election to retain the position.

Avalos' proposal would have allowed the mayor to pick an interim placeholder who couldn't run for election. Additionally, a special election would be held within about four months to fill the seat.

Supervisor Katy Tang, who was appointed to her seat, said, “I do feel that the current system does work.” She suggested that an interim supervisor would be “very dangerous” since they would not be held accountable to the voters.

Avalos, along with supervisors David Campos, David Chiu, Eric Mar and Jane Kim supported placing the measure on the ballot.

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