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Special election to be held to replace Nathan Fletcher

Board of Supervisors chooses costly election over appointment
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher
Posted at 2:28 PM, May 02, 2023

SAN DIEGO, (KGTV) — Voters in District 4 will be heading to the polls this August to replace San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher who is expected to resign on May 15.

After a tense meeting Tuesday that lasted several hours, the supervisors voted unanimously in favor of holding a special election to replace Fletcher.

The supervisors could have chosen to appoint someone instead of calling an election that is expected to cost taxpayers millions.

They heard from over 80 members of the public who spoke passionately in favor and against a special election.

"To be honest none of these options are ideal,” said Chairman Nora Vargas.

“I wish this wasn’t the situation.”

Fletcher announced he would resign on May 15 following a March lawsuit filed by a former MTS employee who accused him of sexual assault and harassment.

Fletcher, who was chair of the MTS board and has since resigned, maintains his interactions with the woman were consensual.

The supervisor stunned San Diego political circles when two days before the lawsuit became public he announced was going to seek treatment out of state for PTSD, trauma, and alcohol abuse.

Some taxpayers are now upset they’ll be the ones paying for this special election to replace him.

"Taxpayers also demand Nathan pay for his legal fees and pay for any money that will be levied against him in any of these claims," said one resident.

ABC 10News sat down with Craig Barkacs, a legal expert and professor at USD’s Knauss School of Business. He says it’s unlikely that Fletcher will be held responsible financially for the upcoming election.

“As far as the cost of the election goes…this is just something that basically cuts into the budget. Sure it’s money that could have been used elsewhere and as a result, it’s not going to be used for something else it might have accomplished," said Barkacs.

It's estimated the special election will cost between two and five million dollars.

“They could have saved the taxpayers the money here but at the same time they would have created another issue with respect to who they might have appointed. Those were the bad choices they were facing. I think ultimately they decided to put it in the hands of the voters but it comes at that cost of several millions dollars," said Barkacs.