The El Cajon City Council unanimously voted to appoint Planning Commissioner David Phillip “Phil” Ortiz to fill a vacant at-large council seat.
The council chose Ortiz, at its meeting Tuesday night, from a pool of 22 applicants for the seat. Ortiz will serve on the five-member council through November 2020. In addition to his seat on the city’s Planning Commission, which he will have to give up to serve on the council, Ortiz sits on the East County Chamber of Commerce Board and is the CEO of New Earth Energy Specialists Inc.
Ortiz is replacing Ben Kalasho, who resigned in March due to consistent tension with the other members of the council. Kalasho frequently voted against council agenda items that otherwise would have passed unanimously and stated in his resignation letter that he didn’t see where he could be effective.
“Although my time on the council has been educational, I felt I was constantly battling my colleagues on agenda items and the general direction that my colleagues wanted for the city,” Kalasho wrote. “I brought forward and advocated for numerous agenda items which seemed to fall on deaf ears and had no other supporting votes.”
Kalasho also dealt with several legal battles since being elected to the council in 2016.
Ortiz is expected to be present during the council’s next meeting, scheduled for May 28.
—City News Service
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