CHICO, Calif. - Tuesday night, Chico City Council met to vote on the remaining six nominees to fill the two vacancies.
Council was able to ask more detailed questions to each nominee, mainly revolving around the rise of homelessness within the city and how Chico can provide more affordable housing.
Within an hour, the decision was made: former Police Chief Mike O’Brien for the at-large position and Dale Bennett for District 3.
Action News Now spoke with O’Brien after the vote and he said he understands what the community needs and is ready for the job.
“I’ve always served to the best of my ability this community as the Chief of Police and a police officer,” he explained. “I did that for almost three decades. Now having the opportunity to step in at a time of real leadership because we lost two members, I think it’s very humbling to step in and provide that leadership.”
The biggest concern for some is whether this non-partisan council will show their political leanings in their decisions, but O’Brien and Mayor Andrew Coolidge said that won’t be a problem.
“Other cities in Northern California certainly don’t have the controversy that we do,” Mayor Coolidge said. “Chico has a history of being a very political city. I think at the same time if we can get past that, I’d really like our council and new members to really set that tone as we move forward.”
“Well number one, I’m not a politician,” O’Brien continued. “I was asked to run this last November and it was not the right time for me. I didn’t have an interest and my family didn’t have an interest after serving nearly three decades in Chico. This appointment is essentially for a year and a half so if I can come in and lend some leadership and experience for this important time for the city, then I’m willing to do that.”
Dale Bennett said after the meeting that he will make a comment once he is officially sworn in on Aug. 3.
To be appointed, each nominee needed a minimum of three votes due to the current five-member council.
Both O’Brien and Bennett received four votes.