Sally Lieber will resign from the Mountain View City Council at the end of this year, citing a conflict of interest with her new position as a member of the state Board of Equalization.
Lieber made the announcement while holding back tears at the end of a Dec. 13 council meeting. Her resignation will be effective Dec. 30, the day she anticipates accepting her oath of office as the District 2 representative on the state Board of Equalization.
“While the election of state constitutional officers has not yet been certified, I do believe that, by receiving close to 70% of the votes across the 19 counties that comprise District 2, that I will win the election,” Lieber said. “I wanted to say that it’s been an honor to work with each of you, and to work with our excellent staff … and to have the opportunity to serve people in Mountain View.”
The Board of Equalization is charged by the California Constitution with regulating county property assessment practices across the state.
"It also hears appeals of the taxes that are levied by the state, the privately owned utilities," such as PG&E, "and privately owned railroads," Lieber told the Voice in an interview earlier this year.
Throughout Lieber’s campaign, she said her intention was to continue serving on the council simultaneously if elected for the state office. But after what Lieber called “a good faith effort to examine that,” she said the city attorney discovered a conflict of interest a couple days ago.
“While there is no direct incompatibility between the offices, there is a conflict based on a piece of telecom equipment that exists in Mountain View,” which the Board of Equalization assesses a tax on, Lieber said during the council meeting. The telecom company is in North Bayshore, Lieber told the Voice.
“So it is not possible for me to continue on council,” she said during the council meeting. “I have to pick and choose between two offices, and that’s really an embarrassment of riches.”
Following Lieber’s announcement, City Manager Kimbra McCarthy thanked Lieber for her service to the city, which spans multiple decades. Lieber served on the council from 1998 to 2002 before a six-year stint in the state Assembly. She returned to the council after winning a seat in the 2020 election.
“I would just like to thank you for your service to the residents of Mountain View and for all of your support of city staff over these last few years,” McCarthy said to Lieber. “It’s been a tremendous support for staff always having the encouraging words and really understanding, I think, where some of the push and pull is with the desire to do a lot of great work and then not necessarily always having the resources.”
Lieber told the Voice that while serving on both council and the board would have been "a huge amount of work, ... it was something that I was very willing to do."
"So I'm hopeful that the community will step up and find somebody who's eager to do it, and I'm hopeful that it will be someone who shares my views on the environment and housing and all those good things," Lieber said.
Looking forward to her new position on the Board of Equalization, Lieber said she's excited to get to work.
"When I was in the state Assembly I served all three terms on the Revenue and Taxation Committee," Lieber said. "While a lot of people think that taxes are a really boring area of policy, they're actually quite interesting. So I'm looking forward to that."
According to a city statement, the council will hold a special meeting on Jan. 5, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. to determine the next steps for filling the vacant seat. Per the City Charter, the council can fill the vacancy by appointment or by calling a special election, the statement said.