Departing Novato councilman’s seat to stay vacant until election

Novato Councilman Josh Fryday’s last council meeting will be on Aug. 27 before he leaves for position in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. (Jeremy Portje/Marin Independent Journal)

Author: Will Houston

Date: July 26th 2019

Published: Marin Independent Journal

When Novato Councilman Josh Fryday ends his term early in September to take a state leadership position, his seat will remain vacant until the November election.

Meeting for the first time since Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he was appointing Fryday, 38, as the state’s chief service officer, the City Council had to decide Tuesday whether to appoint a successor or leave the seat vacant. After a brief discussion, the council chose the latter option given that Fryday’s seat is up for election in November.

“My wish is that Josh stay, but the governor way outranks me,” Mayor Eric Lucan said to the council.

Fryday said rules prohibit him from retaining his council seat while working as the state’s chief service officer, a position that oversees volunteer programs. Speaking to the audience in City Hall, Fryday said it was a “great privilege” to serve his hometown during his time on the council.

“I’m very excited to take the values and the lessons learned from Novato to work on a statewide level,” Fryday said.

Fryday was elected to the council in 2015. His last meeting will be Aug. 27.

“You’re bringing Novato to Sacramento and we’re very grateful for that,” Mayor Pro Tem Denise Athas told Fryday.

Fryday’s replacement will be the first council member to serve what will become the District 5 seat representing communities in southern Marin. November’s election will be the city’s first since switching from at-large to district elections in May.

Marie Hoch, a Hamilton resident and real estate agent, recently launched her campaign for the District 5 seat. Hoch is the only declared candidate for the seat, though potential candidates have until Aug. 9 to file.

“I am running because I want to make sure my surrounding neighborhoods are well represented and cared for by the city,” Hoch said. “This includes Hamilton Field, Meadow Park, Pacheco Valle, Los Robles and Marin Valley. It’s a paradigm change in Novato where neighborhoods have their own City Council member. I also want to streamline and reform Novato’s Building Department to be more user friendly and less punitive.”

The District 1 and District 3 seats are also up for election in November. Lucan and resident Kevin Morrison have filed candidacy documents for the District 3 seat, which represents northeast and downtown Novato.

Jim Petray is the only candidate to have submitted documents for the seat in District 1, which is where Councilwoman Pam Drew lives. The district is in northwest Novato.

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