Jeff Tkac won the local general election last November to become the councilmember representing Ward 5.
On Thursday, multiple sources reported that Jeff Tkac had died by an apparent suicide in Southwest Bakersfield, only a short time after he came into office.
The City Council now has the option to appoint the seat or call a special election.
The citizens living in Ward 5 can have a say in this. They have four weeks to prepare a petition and submit it to the clerk calling for a special election.
Residents in Ward 5 would need 4,729 signatures on a petition to call for a special election, 25% of the total votes during November’s election.
An entire section outlines vacancies in Council and states the following:
Section 16. Vacancies in the Council shall be filled in the following manner, except when caused by recall election. If a vacancy occurs in the Council at a time less than six months prior to the date of the next general election for the vacant council seat, the Council shall fill the vacancy by appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term. If a vacancy occurs in the Council at a time more than six months prior to the date of the next general election for the vacant Council seat, a petition requesting a special election may be filed with the Council. Such petition must contain the signatures of qualified electors of the ward equal in number to not less than twenty-five percent of the vote cast for Councilmanic candidates of that ward at the last general election, and the signatures thereto shall be verified and certified in the same manner as provided for petitions for recall elections. If the petition is valid the Council shall call a special election to fill the vacancy, to be held not less than ninety days nor more than one hundred eighty days following the certification of the petition to the Council. In the event that a valid petition requesting a special election is filed, the Council may within two weeks after the petition is filed, make an interim appointment to fill the vacancy, until the results of the election are certified. If no petition requesting a special election is filed within four weeks after the vacancy occurs, the Council shall fill the vacancy by appointment or by special election for the remainder of the unexpired term. (Amended November 8, 1988: amended November 3, 1964)