City Council Vacancy and Council Election Update

November 19, 2019

At their October 21, 2019 meeting, Council discussed the interim vacancy on the Council created by Jessica Jackson’s October 8, 2019 resignation. According to California Government Code, the 2-year remaining period of Councilmember Jackson’s vacant seat must be filled at the next regular General Municipal Election by having the Council call a special election to fill the vacancy. Mill Valley’s next General Municipal Election is scheduled for March 3, 2020. The issue presented to the Council to decide was whether or not to fill Councilmember Jackson’s vacant seat in the interim period prior to the next General Municipal Election in March 2020.

The Council had 2 options regarding the interim vacancy:

1. Not fill the interim vacancy and proceed with the current 4-member Council until a new Councilmember is elected in March 2020 to fill the 2-year term.

2. Fill the interim vacancy by the Council’s appointment of a successor. The appointed successor would only serve until the next regular General Municipal Election (March 3, 2020), but could choose to participate in the General Municipal Election and, if elected, fill the remaining 2-year term of that vacant seat.

The Council deliberated on the options and voted 3-1 not to fill the interim vacancy and proceed with calling a special election to place the 2-year vacant seat on the March 3, 2020 ballot.

“The current four members of the Council have been together for over four years and has a strong track record,” Mayor Jim Wickham said. “We have been extremely thoughtful and transparent, really listened to the community, and worked together really well. Most importantly, we as a Council make it a priority to reach out to the community for input, discussion and feedback via committees and public Council meetings, really paying attention to members of the community.”


Councilmember Jessica Jackson was first elected to the Mill Valley City Council in 2013. She announced in September 2019 that she will be relocating to the Washington D.C. area and would therefore, be unable to serve the remaining two years of her second term (which expires March, 2022). The effective date of her resignation was October 8, 2019, which created an open and vacated Council seat as of that date.

There are four remaining Councilmembers on the five-member Mill Valley City Council: Mayor Jim Wickham, Vice Mayor Sashi McEntee, Councilmember John McCauley, and Councilmember Stephanie Moulton-Peters. The terms for Mayor Wickham, Vice Mayor McEntee, and Councilmember Moulton-Peters will be ending in March 2020 and will be placed on the ballot in the March 3, 2020 election. Regardless of which option the Council decided on for the interim period of Councilmember Jackson’s seat vacancy, the seat for the two-year unexpired term is required to be placed on the March 2020 ballot as well, per California Government Code.

The process for filling the interim vacancy with a successor appointed by the Council would have entailed a call for candidates and subsequent interviews in late October to early November 2019, followed by selection and appointment of the interim successor approximately mid-November 2019, and swearing in of the interim successor by the end of the year 2019.

Council noted the very short duration of the interim period; the challenge facing any interim successor to get up to speed on Council and City matters as needed and required; as well as the strong track record of the current Councilmembers in deliberating and reaching decisions in a balanced, open, and efficient manner.

Next Steps

At the City Council meeting on November 4, 2019, Council adopted a resolution calling a General Municipal Election on March 3, 2020 for three, four-year terms and a Special Election for one two-year term, requesting the County of Marin Board of Supervisors consolidate with any other elections conducted on said date, and requesting election services by the County Election Official.

The City Manager reported at the November 18, 2019 City Council meeting that the nomination period for the March 2020 election opened on November 12, 2019. The City Clerk’s office has been very active with a handful of Mill Valley residents pulling papers to indicate their interest in filing and serving on the City Council. Incumbent Jim Wickham has pulled papers for the two-year term and incumbent Sashi McEntee has pulled papers for the four-year term. Additional individuals that have pulled papers include Urban Carmel, Kirk Knauer, Melanie Loftus, Tricia Ossa, and Max Perrey. "Pulling papers" indicates an interest in running, but is only an initial part of the nomination process. 

The official nomination period ends on December 6 but is anticipated to be extended for some until December 11, 2019 due to Councilmember Jackson’s seat vacancy. Please contact the City Clerk's office for specific nomination period deadlines. 

Learn more

October 21, 2019 Staff Report

November 4, 2019 Staff Report

Elections and Voter Information

Councilmember Jessica Jackson Announces Resignation

City Clerk
Mill Valley City Hall
26 Corte Madera Avenue
Mill Valley, CA 94941 
Telephone:(415) 388-4033