Arcata Council Set to Select a New Mayor, Vice Mayor


  • Courtesy of the city of Arcata
  • Brett Watson
Arcata Mayor Brett Watson has not submitted a resignation letter but the city council is scheduled to select his replacement and chose a new vice mayor during a special meeting tomorrow.

The item on the 5:59 p.m. agenda just before the regularly scheduled meeting states simply: With a mid-term vacancy of the mayor’s position, the council will consider the election of a new mayor and vice mayor.

In an email to the Journal, City Manager Karen Diemer wrote that she was limited in what she could say at this time due to the “personal nature” of the circumstance other than “in communication with him for personal reasons the city is considering the rotation of mayor and vice mayor.”

She also confirmed that Watson has not submitted a resignation letter.

Watson, who was first appointed to fill an open seat on the council in 2017 before being elected the next year, was arrested for driving under the influence in August at a controlled traffic stop being conducted by the California Highway Patrol on L.K. Wood Boulevard.

He later released a statement saying he was having a difficult time dealing with the year anniversary of his father’s suicide.

Vice Mayor Stacy Atkins-Salazar told the Lost Coast Outpost that she and the other three councilmembers decided Monday to call the special meeting and she “strongly encourages the public to watch the beginning of the meeting.”

Traditionally, the Arcata City Council rotates the honorary positions of mayor and vice on an annual basis each December, with everyone getting a shot at the top slot.

According to the Council Protocol Manuel: "If any vacancy occurs in the office of Mayor, the Vice Mayor shall automatically assume the office of Mayor," which means Atkins-Salazar would take on the role of mayor, which includes responsibility for running the council meetings.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the protocol for replacing the mayor should a vacancy occur mid-term.

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