EL CENTRO, Calif. (13 On Your Side) - El Centro Mayor Ben Solomon announced he is not running for re-election. His term expires this year.
"I've had some medical problems and that has been a really big reason. Plus, I have some grand kids that I haven't had a chance to be around too much."
Mayor Ben Solomon says he's not running for re-election because of a rare health condition he has been battling for three years.
"They found out that I had a bone that was turned the wrong way. And it was crushing up against my spinal cord."
Solomon says in order to avoid being paralyzed from the neck down, doctors suggested they operate on him to relieve pressure.
"By the time it was all over with, I had a total of five operations and now I'm in a wheelchair."
Solomon says, even though he won't seek another four year term, he is pleased with his accomplishments during his time in office.
"A transfer station on seventh and State Street, we have the addition of the El Centro Regional Medical Center on the corner of 4th and Main, we have a skate park going in, we have a new fire station that went in. So, as you can see, we've done some things since I've been on the city council."
In El Centro, the city council appoints the mayor. According to City Clerk, Diane Caldwell, two city council seats are up for grabs.
So far, only three people have taken out nomination packets, but have yet to turn them in.
No other council member has publicly voiced interest in becoming the city's next mayor.
"So I have no official candidates at this point. But I'm anticipating at least two."
Caldwell says, in order to be nominated for city council, you must be 18-years-old, a registered voter living in El Centro who can provide 20 nomination signatures.
She says, after council members are elected - a new mayor will then be appointed.
"Come November, we will have a re-organization. I'll be swearing in the new council members. and at that time they will re-organize as city council and a new mayor and mayor pro-tem will be chosen."
As for Solomon, he says he leaves his legacy on a good note and the new mayor will have a lot to look forward to.
"For the next mayor, I think they're going to have an opportunity to have some really great things going on. I'd rather not say what they are – but I'd rather wait for them to have that opportunity to say what they are – but the city is growing, the city is moving."
Solomon's term ends by the end of the year. Elections for city council are on November 5th.
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