On Tuesday, May 14, the Irvine City Council appointed Mike Carroll to fill a vacant council seat in a 3-1 vote. The seat was left vacant in March, when former Mayor Pro Tem and Councilmember Christina Shea stepped into the role of mayor, following previous Mayor Donald Wagner’s election to the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
“After thoughtful discussion and an intensive interview process, I am pleased to welcome Mike Carroll to the Irvine City Council,” said Mayor Shea, in a press release. “While we had a number of qualified candidates, Mr. Carroll brings a wealth of community and professional experience making him uniquely qualified to serve as an Irvine city councilmember. He is a champion for our wonderful community and I look forward to working with him.”
Councilmember Melissa Fox cast the lone dissenting vote in the decision. While the Irvine City Charter states that a vacant council seat can be filled by appointment by the remaining four members of the council, Fox has been vocally opposed to this idea, and called for a special election to fill the spot. This option was ultimately rejected at a council meeting in late April, where the other members of the council primarily cited financial concerns — a special election could have cost the city upwards of $900,000.
Interviews for all 12 candidates were held the day of the vote. Eight candidates were knocked out of the running within the first round of votes for failure to gain the support of at least two councilmembers. This included Carrie O’Malley, who ran for City Council in 2018, placing third. Of the remaining four candidates, Carroll was chosen.
Councilmember Carroll served as vice chair of the city of Irvine Planning Commission, and previously served on the city’s Community Services Commission from 2012-2016. He is also the husband of Irvine Unified School District trustee Betty Carroll.