On Tuesday night, new council members sworn in

One city council seat still needs to be filled

BAKERSFIELD,Calif. - The Bakersfield City Council will have three new members, but Monday night only two of them took their seats because no one knows who the third council member will be.

The was a night full of endings and beginnings as the city council welcomed two new faces.


Ward 4's Bob Smith will replace David Couch, who was elected to the Kern County Board of Supervisors.

"(I'm) excited," said Smith. "(It's) a new season, a new adventure. (I'm) ready to learn and give back to the community."

Ward 2's Terry Maxwell replaced Sue Benham.

"I've been looking forward to this," said Maxwell. "When you get elected, you're not sure whether you should be that excited about it or whether you've gotten yourself into something that may be a little bigger than you can handle, but I've been so excited. I can't wait to get started on some of the key issues in this city."

One of the first discussions both of them will be a part of is what to do with the Ward 1 vacancy that exists because Rudy Salas was elected to the state assembly.

There are two options at this point: a special election or an appointment.

Residents can file a petition requesting the special election. If that does not happen or there are not enough signatures, then the decision to appoint or elect will be decided by the council.

The final person, whoever he or she is, will then complete the council that has already started a brand new chapter.
"Thank you to everyone who took the time to help me with my election," said Maxwell. "I'm out there to do the best job I possibly can."

Ward 1 residents only have a few weeks left to collect just over 1,200 signatures to force a special election.

If that happens, the election would be sometime between March and June.

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