Oceanside City Council votes to change interview process, will not interview all 35 applicants for council seat vacancy

Written by Sebastian Acosta

The Oceanside City Council has decided to change a policy it implemented a year ago that was designed to bring “transparency” to the political appointment process.

Complaints about the appointment process in 2019 led to the construction of the policy. Under its rules, each applicant would be allowed one minute to present themselves; and then would be subject to a ten-minute interview with the City Council, followed by public comments. 

However, because of the amount of time it would take to interview all thirty-five applicants, the council reconsidered. 

Instead of interviewing the remaining thirty-five applicants for the District 1 council seat, left vacant by the election of Mayor Esther Sanchez, the council voted to interview only the top five picks of each council member. Their choices will be announced on Jan. 27. Each interview will be five minutes, rather than ten. 

Among the applicants are former Oceanside City Clerk Zack Beck, former Councilman and Mayor Terry Johnson, and recent candidate Michael Odegaard. 

Councilman Christopher Rodriquez called it a “waste of time” to interview all the candidates. 

“It’s not in the best interest of this council’s time to do ten-minute interviews of each applicant,” he said.

The council voted three-to-one in favor of changing the process. Mayor Esther Sanchez voiced the only objection. 

“I have difficulty with that,” Sanchez said. “It would be highly unfair to interview just a handful of people.”

All interviews will be conducted remotely and will be available for public viewing. The council has until Feb. 10 to appoint someone or call for a special citywide election. Although many residents favor the latter option, costs and time limitations make it an unlikely choice.