The swearing in Tuesday evening of three new Hercules City Council members comes at a key juncture, as the city is poised to finalize a budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year and find a new city manager.
The newly formed council also will need to , as Mayor Joanne Ward was recalled in the June 7 election, a new police chief and a new city attorney.
"Seems like a good point for the new council to move in," said John Delgado, who was elected to the council in November.
It remains to be seen whether 11th-hour campaign troubles stemming from his will dog him after he takes office or whether Herculeans are ready to move on. As late as last week, City Clerk Doreen Mathews asked Boulanger to provide proof of his U.S. citizenship at the request of Councilwoman Myrna de Vera. He did. And de Vera met with Boulanger to ask that he step aside. He told her he will not, she said.
The swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for . After the city clerk swears in Boulanger, Dan Romero and William Wilkins, a reception will be held. Given , the new council members agreed to pay for the refreshments, Mathews said.
With the transition, Hercules gets a council clear of anyone in office when the City Hall troubles began surfacing in 2010. De Vera and John Delgado, who were and seated in December, are the old-timers with just six months on the job.
The community will see a council with more diverse opinions and a willingness to challenge administrators, de Vera said.
"They'll see more participation and input from the new council members," she said. "It will be a more opinionated, more vibrant, more dynamic council."
While optimistic, de Vera was concerned enough about Boulanger's embellishment of his background to ask him to step aside and to request that he produce his naturalization papers. Mathews said Boulanger brought the paperwork to City Hall on Tuesday, showing his passport and a certificate that showed he was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in San Francisco on April 26, 2005.
De Vera said, however, she was concerned that Boulanger's damaged credibility would be problematic for him and the council as a whole. She asked Delgado to join her as she met with Boulanger, though she said Delgado was there to be a third-party witness and did not share her position.
"I advised (Boulanger), for the integrity of the council, to resign but he does not want to," she said. "... With all the controversies involving ethics of past leaders, it would be best for the credibility of the council."
A few days after the election, Boulanger said in that he wants the public's feedback on what he should do and that during a trip to Europe for his daughter's wedding at the end of June, he would make a decision. Asked Monday if that's still his plan, he said, "I suggest you come to the meeting (Tuesday) night." He said he had no further comment.
De Vera emphasized that the choice is all Boulanger's and that she will work with him no matter what he does. And she said that another recall would be a bad idea because the city has just gone through one, another election would be expensive and Boulanger fills a term with just 18 months left and faces re-election again in November 2012.
"I'm sure we can work with him," she said. "It's up to the citizens. It's not my say."