Oceanside CA— Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood returned to the City Council chambers Wednesday afternoon, for the first time since suffering a stroke in May, to attend a special meeting and vote regarding an extension to his medical leave. The Mayor, who won re-election in November 2016, took medical leave on May 22, 2017 and was expected to return in August. The meeting today was to vote for a sixty-day extension which passed by 4-0 vote.
In a written statement, read for the Mayor by an assistant, he expressed his gratitude to all of his well wishers and supporters and said his doctors informed him that the first 6 months of recovery, after an incident, are the most critical. “My speech and balance have been affected and I continue receive out-patient therapy for both,” the statement continued, “The decision to ask for more time off was a difficult one. However, I decided to honor my constituents, who overwhelmingly voted to re-elect me last year, to do all I can to honor their wishes and serve as mayor until 2020.”
The Mayor, citing his 40 plus years of public service, stated his first inclination was to attend the regularly scheduled 5:00pm meeting this evening and would do so if required to. “However, my doctors and family have been adamant that I take the time needed to ensure my best recovery. I completely understand there being concern with a four member council and a possible two to two vote. I will work with the City Manager regarding the potential for any controversial vote and will return if needed to avoid this scenario.”
Several people spoke to the City Council on behalf of the Mayor, prior to the vote, including Carlsbad Mayor, Matt Hall. “One thing I do know about Jim is that his heart is in this from beginning. Not only do I support the motion for extension but my colleagues; Jim Desmond, Mayor of San Marcos, Sam Abed, Mayor of Escondido and Judy Ritter, Mayor of Vista. We ask you to support this.”
The sixty-day extension goes into effect November 1, 2017. “The way the agenda calendar works out, the Mayor will actually have 90 days,” said Council-member Jerry Kern. ” It works out because at the end of ninety days, it gives the council time to either pick a replacement or put something on the June Primary ballot. If the Mayor decides or is unable to return, there won’t be a need for a special election.”