Bob Nuñez is in and Karina Dominguez is out as the vice mayor of Milpitas.
The appointment, made at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, marks the end of a nearly two-month long saga sparked when Mayor Rich Tran suggested cutting Dominguez’s vice mayorship short in the interest of promoting “shared leadership.” Dominguez was only halfway through her two-year tenure when Tran made the Nov. 19 announcement, which inflamed tensions between the two colleagues.
But before ousting Dominguez, the council decided to solicit the public’s input on how long the vice mayorship should be.
Preliminary results presented by city officials earlier this week show that out of the 84 people who responded to the survey, which was posted on NextDoor, 67.9 percent said they preferred a two-year term for the largely symbolic second-in-command position. The information was meant to serve as an “interim” update so residents who were gone for the holidays could get the chance to respond to the survey in the new year. Final results were slated to be presented at the Jan. 21 council meeting.
But Milpitas councilors decided to charge ahead, voting 3-0 to appoint Nuñez as vice mayor. Dominguez and Councilwoman Carmen Montano abstained.
“I’m very confident that with council member Nuñez having the opportunity this year in 2020 we’ll be able to get a lot of work done,” Tran told San Jose Inside.
Immediately after the decision, Dominguez stepped out of the council meeting to air her grievances on Facebook Live. “Many of you guys know that I’m a bold leader, and tonight I am calling out the mayor,” she said. “I’m calling him out for his childishness, for his pettiness, for his sexist and for his bullying ways of how he did governance tonight.”
Tran said he heard about the video from some of his high school friends.
“I’m not sure where council member Dominguez is trying to go with that,” he said. “She got up in the middle of the meeting and left, and, really, that’s unacceptable to Milpitas residents. We have business to conduct and we don’t need her absences.”
Dominguez also took issue with what she called a lack of transparency around the appointment decision, which was expected to be made later this month. She said the council chambers were noticeably empty compared to the December meeting, which was attended by many of her supporters. Moving up the appointment was done in a “strategic and tactic political way,” she concluded.
Tran disputed that claim, saying attendance on Tuesday was pretty typical.
“At the December meeting, we had abundance of San Jose and Santa Clara County residents that attended the meeting,” he said. “Although I appreciate our guests and visitors here in Milpitas who are welcome at any time, this is a Milpitas decision and we had Milpitas residents who did attend and who did speak up.”
Nuñez’s term as vice mayor will last through the end of this year.