The Livingston City Council appointed a new member to the board Tuesday, filling the position left empty in late April by a councilman who resigned.
With a 3-0 vote, the council appointed Alex McCabe, 33, to fill the seat vacated by former Councilman David Mendoza, who resigned after he moved out of the city.
Councilman Jim Soria was absent from the special meeting this week, when the other members of the council interviewed three applicants for the council appointment. The council made it clear last month they intended to appoint someone before the June 29 deadline, which allows them to avoid paying for a special election.
McCabe, who is originally from the foothill town of Ahwahnee, said he’s lived in Livingston for three years and hopes to be able to give back to the city that he said has benefited him.
He said he was laid off from the Merced County Assessor’s Office during the recent recession, and was able to get a fresh start after moving to Livingston. “It’s just a really unique city that has so much to offer and has given me so much,” he said.
McCabe, who is a real estate consultant, said he’s served on the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District, helped establish a Livingston Chamber of Commerce and attended the Merced County One Voice trip to Washington D.C.
During the council meeting this week, McCabe said the city’s economic development and water issues rank high on his list of priorities, as well as finding a way to bring together the city’s diverse population.
As a member of the Merced County Mosquito Abatement District, he said, he’s had experience with balancing budgets and making “hard decisions.”
He also earned a bachelor’s in agriculture science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, which he said should give him some insight with the city’s biggest employer, Foster Farms.
Mayor Pro Tem Gurpal Samra said the three candidates who applied were all community oriented, but McCabe had a résumé that touted more experience. He said McCabe’s experience in government and business made him the “natural” choice.
“He’s already doing a lot of the stuff council members do anyway,” he said. “I think that’s probably what his strength was.”
Samra urged the other applicants for the council seat to seek appointments on city commissions.
McCabe said his first goal is to find a way to streamline Livingston’s bureaucracy, allowing businesses to start up faster in town. He noted that he would prefer infill projects to ones that developed new land.
“My main thing would be making Livingston more marketable,” he said.
Mendoza, who was elected in 2012, submitted an official letter of resignation on April 30. He said he moved to Merced, so was no longer eligible to be a councilman in Livingston.
McCabe is set to be sworn in during Tuesday’s meeting.