UPDATE: City of McFarland cancels city council meeting; does not fill vacancy on council

March 27, 2020 /

The McFarland City Council cancelled its most recent city council meeting, where the council planned to appoint an individual to fill a vacancy.

The cancellation comes after advocates urged the city council to postpone the meeting to a time where more community residents could attend. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the city would have only allowed nine members of the public to attend the March 26 meeting, to ensure the social distancing rule is in place. It is unknown if the the city of McFarland will allow more than nine people to attend the next meeting.

Advocates worried the city of McFarland’s plan to fill the vacant seat at the meeting that was scheduled for March 26 was an attempt to rush a GEO appeal hearing.

An appeal hearing could overturn the city’s Planning Commission vote from February that denied permit applications that would have allowed GEO, a private prison company, to convert two state prisons in McFarland to immigration detention facilities.

The vote can be overturned with a majority vote from the city council. Right now, there are only four members on the board.

The next regular meeting of the McFarland City Council will be held 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 9 at the McFarland Veterans Community Center, 103 W. Sherwood Ave., McFarland.