Supervisor-elect Mike McGuire said he will resign from the Healdsburg City Council next week to save the city money and give voters a say in choosing his replacement.
But it will be his council colleagues who will decide whether to put his seat on the November ballot or appoint a replacement.
"It's pure speculation at this point," as to what the council will do, Councilman Eric Ziedrich said Tuesday.
McGuire was elected June 8 to the county board of supervisors to represent the fourth district, an expansive area encompassing most of northern Sonoma County, and will take his county office in January.
After McGuire submits his resignation, council members intend to decide at the same meeting Tuesday whether to appoint someone to fill out the remainder of his four-year term, which expires at the end of 2012, or let voters make the choice.
"We agreed the discussion should take place after Mike vacates the seat," Mayor Jim Wood said Tuesday.
In explaining his decision, McGuire said: "I want to do what is best for Healdsburg, and I believe the people should make the decision on who they want representing their needs on the council."
By stepping down now, McGuire said he hopes the city will avoid the estimated $15,000 to $30,000 cost for a special election to choose his successor.
If his seat is put on the ballot in November in conjunction with the general election, the cost would be around $1,500.
The council has a limited time to make a decision if it wants to put McGuire's seat on the November ballot.
But it could instead choose to appoint his successor.
"I'm keeping an open mind until our next meeting," Councilman Tom Chambers said Tuesday. "Basically, we have all our options open."
According to state law, the council has 30 days from the commencement of a vacancy to fill it by appointment or call for an election to fill the vacancy.
If an election is called, it must be held not less than 114 days after the decision.
That makes the deadline July 11 for the council to decide whether to put McGuire's seat on the November ballot. The July 6 council meeting is the last one before that date, McGuire noted.
"So the council has a few choices," McGuire said. "They put it up for election in November and appoint a temporary council member to fill the remaining six months before the next council member is sworn in, or they can simply appoint someone for the next two and half years of my term."
Councilman Ziedrich on Tuesday said he was inclined to let the voters decide in November.
"It's a publicly elected position. Why not put it in front of the public, if you can minimize or neutralize the cost of an election?"
There already are two council seats on the November ballot, that of Ziedrich's, who is not seeking re-election, and that of Mayor Jim Wood, who plans to run again. No other candidates have come forward. The filing deadline for those seats is Aug. 11.
McGuire, 30, won a decisive victory over Windsor Councilwoman Debora Fudge for north county supervisor in the June 8 primary election He picked up 62 percent of the vote to Fudge's 38 percent.