With an agenda short on other substantive business, the Sonoma City Council will conduct its annual reorganization Monday night, voting on the selection of a new mayor and mayor pro tem.
Three-time Mayor Ken Brown will surrender the gavel to whoever receives at least three votes from fellow council members, and Brown has made it clear he intends to participate in the process despite a call from Steve Barbose to recuse himself.
Barbose was the only member of the council not present at a Sonoma Valley Hospital dedication ceremony Nov. 16 when Brown, called to make some remarks, recognized other council members in the audience and described Tom Rouse as Sonoma’s next mayor and David Cook as the next mayor pro tem.
Barbose took exception to that declaration, objecting that Brown’s pronouncement presupposed some prior agreement with other members of the council, which would constitute a violation of the Brown Act, the state’s open-meeting law. That law prohibits elected members of government bodies from discussing and deciding official business – outside publicly-scheduled meetings – in numbers that would constitute a majority.
Brown denied he had discussed mayoral selection with any other council members and was merely voicing his opinion about who he thought should, or would, be chosen.