By Per Peterson
A key transition took place Monday night during one of the most non-traditional city council meetings Tracy has ever seen.
With council members taking part in Monday’s meeting via video conferencing to honor social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, Tony Peterson was unanimously appointed as Tracy’s new mayor, taking over for Mayor Pro Tem Kou Thao who had been serving since Anthony Dimmers’ resignation earlier this month.
Peterson will serve as mayor for at least the remainder of the year; he said it’s too early to decide if he will run for a full four-year term in November, but said it is possible.
Peterson, who lost to Dimmers in the 2018 election, was the only person to apply to fill the mayoral vacancy.
“I put my name in because I think it’s important that someone’s available all the time in town — this is a perfect example of why we need some continuity in town,” Peterson said.
Councilmembers all agreed that Peterson’s experience on the council, and with the functioning of the city in general, are important assets he will bring to the mayor’s position.
“We are in a very strange time right now with a lot of stuff that is uncertain, and we need someone with experience, someone that’s seasoned, so I would make the recommendation to accept the application and appoint councilman Peterson as the mayor,” said Thao, who didn’t wish to continue as mayor.
Councilmember Jeri Schons said Peterson has the most experience with city matters and is the logical choice to succeed Dimmers for the rest of the year. A motion to appoint Peterson as mayor was made by council member Dave Tiegs and was seconded by Thao.
Peterson said he will rely on his experience as he leads the city the rest of the year. He served as mayor from 2013-2016 and has been a mainstay on the council for years.
“Experience never hurts, as long as you don’t fall into a rut and think you’re better than what your position is — I don’t have an ego like that,” he said.
Peterson abstained from any discussion Monday about filling the mayor’s seat. He thanked the council for having faith in him to take over at this time.
“Working together, we’ll get through this mess,” he said.
Tracy City Attorney Matthew Gross said the open seat on the council would need to be advertised and subsequently filled.
“The council can determine the length of time the advertising should run,” Gross said.
Schons made a motion to advertise for two weeks to fill the open council position; Tiegs seconded it. That would give the council some time to sit down with the candidates if they feel it necessary before filling the seat at the next council meeting on April 6.
Peterson would be done in January unless he decides to refile.
See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.