A former Oceano Community Services District director has qualified to run as a write-in candidate challenging Arroyo Grande Mayor Tony Ferrara in the November election.
Jim Hill has lived in the South County area since 1981 and was first elected to the Oceano Community Services District in 2004.
Hill served until March 2011, when he resigned, stating that then-General Manager Raffaele Montemurro’s failure to follow board direction prevented him from being able to carry out his “fiduciary obligation” to the local citizens.
Hill, an engineer at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, later moved to Arroyo Grande. He could not be reached for comment Friday.
According to a news release, he is running to challenge Ferrara, who has come under fire from some residents for his handling of a July 3 incident at City Hall involving two city employees, which recently resulted in a unanimous vote of no confidence by the Arroyo Grande Police Officers Association.
Ferrara has served on the council since 1998. Until Hill entered the race, Ferrara wasn’t facing any challengers in his bid for re-election to another two-year term as mayor. His name will still be the only mayoral candidate listed on the ballot. Voters wanting to cast their ballot for Hill will need to write in his name.
During Hill’s time with the Oceano services district, the board eliminated board member stipends for attending committee meetings, began televising board meetings and improved fire services by forming the Five Cities Fire Authority with Arroyo Grande and Grover Beach, Hill wrote in a commentary for The Tribune shortly after his resignation.
As a write-in candidate, he had to gather signatures from at least 20 registered voters in the city.
Hill turned in 30 signatures Friday morning, according to Mike Byrd, an Arroyo Grande real estate broker who met with Hill this week to see whether he was interested in running.
City Clerk Kelly Wetmore said no one has ever run for council as a write-in candidate in the 15 years she’s worked for the city.
Hill’s website is http://writeinjimhillmayor.com/.