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City Staffer Chosen To Fill Vacant Phoenix Council Seat

Felicita Mendoza
Christina Estes/KJZZ
editorial | staff
The Phoenix City Council chose Felicita Mendoza to fill the District 8 seat until a special election is held in March 2019.

For the second time this month, the Phoenix City Council picked a city hall insider to fill a vacant seat.

Felicita Mendoza has spent several years working at City Hall. Before Tuesday’s special council meeting she was listed on different web pages for District 7 as the Chief of Staff for Councilman Michael Nowakowksi and as an administrative coordinator for District 7.

Mendoza told the council her family’s background — fleeing civil war in El Salvador and assimilating to a new country — will shape her politics for District 8, which includes parts of downtown, south Phoenix and Laveen.

“Because I will approach every issue with openness, inclusiveness and compassion,” she said. “It doesn’t matter your political affiliations, your skin color, sexual orientation, religion or way of life. Your voice matters and I want to be your advocate.”

Mendoza was picked among 14 candidates to temporarily fill the seat until a special election takes place in March. In nominating her, Councilman Jim Waring, pointed out Mendoza did not meet the filing deadline to run for the permanent seat, unlike some other candidates.

Waring blasted the appointment process and suggested changes so that future interim appointments only included candidates who were not running for the permanent seat. He would also like to ban current or former city staffers from interim appointments and require candidates be registered as independent voters for "a considerable time." The council took no action on his suggestions.

Earlier this month, the council appointed another city staffer, Vania Guevara, to fill the District 5 seat. Both seats became vacant after Councilman Daniel Valenzeula and Councilwoman Kate Gallego resigned to run for mayor.

As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.