The Cotati City Council unanimously voted to appoint John Moore as the new city councilman Wednesday.

The council seat became vacant in January following former city Councilwoman Pat Gilardi's resignation to take a job as district director for Sonoma County Supervisor Susan Gorin.

"(Moore) is a longstanding community member who has integrity and is a hard worker," said Mayor Mark Landman. "We look forward to working with him."

The City Council voted unanimously Jan. 23 to appoint a new council member, instead of holding a special election.

Moore, an insurance executive with the Rohnert Park branch of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, was one of nine applicants for the position.

"It's a grueling process and I thought the field was wide open for all of the applicants," said Moore, who has been a Cotati resident since 1984. "I thought some of the applicants were very strong."

The original list of applicants included George Barich, Isaac Freed, Linell Hardy, Ed Hirsch, Sky Matula, Moore, Ashley Veach, Eris Weaver and Alan Wintermeyer.

Only six of the nine applicants attended the council's Wednesday meeting. After more than four hours of presentations from the applicants, the council narrowed the field down to Moore and conflict resolution facilitator Weaver.

Landman noted both Weaver and Moore's background as experienced negotiators interested him.

"(Moore) is a person who can voice his disagreement without being divisive," Landman said. "That makes a big difference."

Moore, who serves as a district bargaining unit representative for a local branch of Service Employees International Union, believes the experience will be helpful in his new position.

"Within (conflict) you have to allow others to be professional and save face so that you can get down into the nitty gritty of the real issues," Moore said.

Moore's top three priorities include stabilizing the city's revenue, working on viable options for the city's downtown plan and restoring some of the city services lost to the economic downturn, Moore said.

"I'd really like to see the city have a recreation department again," he said.

The new councilman also noted the challenge the downtown plan now presents after voters banned roundabouts from Cotati in 2012.

"We're going to have to keep the plan viable," Moore said. "I want to be able to bolster the city to be more economically viable."

Moore's wife, Lisa, previously served as a city councilwoman and briefly as mayor of Cotati. Both husband and wife had originally pulled applications for the position, but mutually decided he should move forward due to his wife's decision to attend Sonoma State University.

Moore was chosen late into the evening and was immediately sworn in as the new councilman.

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