Jesse Petrilla, the Rancho Santa Margarita city councilman whose actions and comments seem to be , will begin a one-year deployment to Afghanistan at the end of the month.
Petrilla, 28, made the announcement Tuesday via a press release on his website.
Elected in November, 2010, this is the second disruption in his term as a city councilman. He was absent nearly four months in 2011, from February to June, when he underwent training at Fort Knox to become a tank platoon leader.
Jesse Petrilla, a second lieutenant, is a member of the California Army National Guard and will be part of Operatin Enduring Freedom.
“I am very proud to be given the privilege to serve the greatest nation on earth,” Petrilla said in his release. “In the event that Uncle Sam called me to go, I have always stood ready to deploy, and am deeply honored to serve our country and state.”
Petrilla, in the release, "expressed full confidence in his colleagues on the City Council of Rancho Santa Margarita to carry on with city business while he is away." Petrilla will resume his duties as a member of the City Council when he returns.
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City attorney Greg Simonian said Tuesday morning that he had not seen the orders but had every reason to believe they were accurate. "We do know it's a legally authorized absence," Simonian said. "He doesn't lose his office because he goes on active duty."
Petrilla was elected to a four-year term in November 2010 when, after a two-year campaign in which he knocked on every door in the city twice, he received an election-high 22.9 percent of the vote, finishing ahead of Steve Baric (21.4 percent) and incumbent Gary Thompson (21.2 percent). All three took council seats. Incumbent Neil Blais (21.1 percent) was defeated.
When Petrilla left for his earlier stint with the National Guard, the four remaining council members by majority chose to replace Petrilla with a temporary councilmember. Shortly after that decision was made, Thompson resigned and the notion of replacing Petrilla during the appointment process for Thompson's replacement was scrapped.