Tuesday, June 12, 2007 • Templeton returns to City Council

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, June 12, 2007, edition of the Lassen County Times.

Debra Magginetti, right,  swears in Vern Templeton after the Susanville City Council votes unanimously to have him fill the vacancy left by former mayor Pro tem Rocky Joy.

Three candidates applied for the vacant seat on the Susanville City Council at its regular meeting Wednesday, June 6, but by the end of the night, former mayor Vern Templeton was back on board.

Templeton, born and raised in Susanville, served three back-to-back terms before losing his re-election bid to Rocky Joy in 2002.

All of the candidates were vying to fill the spot left open by Joy, the former mayor Pro tem, whose last day in office was Thursday, May 31. Templeton will be taking over the remainder of Joy’s three-year term, before a special stand-alone election is held in November.

Anyone wishing to be interviewed for the vacancy had to submit a letter explaining why he or she wanted to be on the board, along with his or her qualifications.

All of the candidates were interviewed at the meeting. The interview consisted of a few questions from current council members Kurt Bonham, Douglas Sayers, Rodney De Boer and Mayor Lino Callegari. Question topics ranged from what candidates would like to see accomplished by the council in the near future to what possible conflicts of interest might arise from the candidates’ current affiliations.

The candidates interviewed included Tim Bruce and Joe Franco, as well as Templeton.

Bruce has been involved in the community for a number of years, serving on multiple boards in several capacities. He is a current member of Rotary International, for which he served as president from 2004-2005. He’s also a member of the Lassen County Sheriff’s Posse, serving as a captain in 2006. He is serving as the Lassen County Fair Board’s president. He’s on the Board of Directors for Lassen Family Services as well as being its current financial officer.

Right now, Bruce is working as the food manager at High Desert State Prison. He used to be involved with both High Desert and the California Correctional Center as the community resources manager, which, he said in his submitted letter, helped him be prepare for possibly solving issues facing the citizens of Susanville.

During Bruce’s interview with the board, he said one of his chief concerns was doing everything possible to help see the city grow.

“We need to find ways to bring more shopping to this city,” Bruce said during his opening statement, “so that people aren’t going to Redding or Chico to do their shopping. That way the money stays here.”

The other candidate applying for the position, Joe Franco, said in his letter that he had 30 plus years of experience with the U.S. Forest Service. He currently works as the timber sale-contracting officer for the Sierra Cascade Province covering the Lassen, Plumas and Modoc National Forests. He served a two-year term as president of the Butte County School Board. He has been a resident of Susanville for four years, and said he plans to retire here.

Franco said during his interview that he noticed how tourism has become a big-ticket item for Susanville and how he would like to see tourism evolve.

“We have to look at developing the way the city continues to evolve in the future,” Franco said, “and make sure that it’s developed in a manner that provides for a long term economic and social foundation.”

Templeton’s interview process was considerably shorter than the first two candidates, because he had already been part of the council for about nine years.

“I was born here, raised here, and raised my family here,” Templeton said. “In fact, now my kids are raising their kids here. That’s what I think is important about Susanville. It’s important to have a place where you can raise your kids, and those kids can get a good job so they can raise their kids here.”

All of the council members cited Templeton’s experience as the determining factor in selecting him for the position.

However, both Bonham and Callegari said on a couple of occasions after Templeton took his oath of office that they were very impressed by the other two candidates and encouraged them to consider running again in future elections.