NORWALK – Norwalk councilman Marcel Rodarte is expected to resign his City Council seat to accept a job as executive director of California Contract Cities Association.
The association's executive board is poised to ratify Rodarte's contract on April 6. Assuming the contract is approved, Rodarte's final day on the City Council would be June 30.
Founded in 1957, the association advocates on behalf of member cities on state and federal levels. Rodarte said resigning his City Council seat was necessary to avoid conflicts of interest.
"It was not an easy decision to make, but in this new role I'll have an opportunity to have an impact on 69 other cities, not just Norwalk," said Rodarte, 43. "I'm nervous and excited at the same time. But it feels right."
Rodarte currently works as a mission support supervisor for U.S. Homeland Security. According to Rodarte, going back to school to earn a Master's degree in Leadership from USC helped him realize a career in government wasn't for him.
Discussions with the CCCA began in February, Rodarte said, and picked up steam in March. Rodarte will technically be a contract worker for the association and is in the process of forming his own corporation.
The association is based out of Downey, but Rodarte said he would likely relocate the office to Norwalk.
Meanwhile, Rodarte's departure leaves a coveted opening on the 5-member City Council. Council members will need to decide between holding a special election or appointing a council member to fill the vacant seat until Norwalk's next regularly scheduled election March 7, 2017.
If the council chooses to appoint a council member – which is likely due to the high costs of a special election – Rodarte said he expects to recommend a successor.
"I want someone with ideas," he said. "They don't necessarily have to be young, but someone under 30 who may not have the life experience still has ideas. I also want someone who is willing to work with the city council."
In the meantime, Rodarte said he plans to stay in Norwalk and will continue to work on behalf of his hometown, even if it is from a new position.
"I'm not going anywhere," he said. "I didn't join the City Council for the photo-ops or ribbon-cuttings. I wanted to bring new ideas and work on behalf of my city.
"I'll be able to do that even more now...It's a life changer."