Gene Wunderlich appointed to fill vacant seat on Murrieta’s city council


Gene Wunderlich, one of four final candidates, was appointed to fill the vacant seat for Murrieta City Council Tuesday, Oct. 1. He will be sworn in at the council meeting Nov. 5 and will serve until November 2020.

Out of state, Wunderlich was unable to attend the live interview process but turned in a formal letter that reflected his testimony in filling the vacant seat. The letter was read by Murrieta city clerk Stephanie Smith.

Wunderlich has been a Murrieta resident for 30 years, involved in city committees, commissions and was briefly appointed as a city council member the last time a seat was vacant.

Mayor Kelly Seyarto and other council members said they were looking for someone who could “hit the ground running,” as Wunderlich reflected during his past position on the council.

“These people know me and trust me, as I have established a relationship with them over the course of years,” Wunderlich said in his letter to the council.

Seyarto mentioned several other qualifications, ranging from a demonstration of character in the community, knowledge of the community, experience on boards and commissions and overall efficiency and effectiveness in the community.

The applicants were thanked for giving their time in speaking to the council and for their public testimony, and Seyarto acknowledged that they all fit the criteria.

In other business, the council discussed maintaining the city through proper disbursements of funds and the upcoming U.S. census in April which will ask households to answer questions to get an accurate count of people living in the U.S. The census occurs every 10 years.

Several members of the U.S. Census Bureau came to speak on its behalf, adding that in 2021 the government will be dispensing over $675 billion over the next 10 years, and the city of Murrieta is partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to show its importance of getting an accurate count so that funds can be distributed evenly for many projects throughout the city.

Jeff Murphy, director of development services for Murrieta, gave an update on some proposed code changes that affect the city and its residents. Some of these updates include clarification of public nuisance regulations and what can be considered a public nuisance. One of these clarifications spoke to the matter of garage sales and how many are held throughout neighborhoods during the course of the year, and this new update would reflect a change of allowing homeowners a limit of four garage sales per year.

Seyarto clarified that they don’t want this to discourage people from having garage sales, but to prevent people from creating a business of hosting garage sales.

Some other updates to code changes included removing cords across sidewalks from RVs, which are also seen when people put up holiday lights and play equipment such as basketball hoops that are left in public right of ways.

According to Murphy, most of these code changes are clarifications of existing codes, and they will be looking at different ways to get the message out to residents.

Lastly, Murrieta police Chief Sean Hadden congratulated and recognized several volunteers for their service to the Murrieta Police Department over the past 24 years.

Three volunteers were recognized for the time they donated to the city, serving and helping save the city time and resources that normally would have been spent by employees of the police department.

“I was 24 years old when they started here,” Hadden said. “All three of these men were great examples of to me growing up of just good, wholesome men who cared about their family.”

He said they were good examples to the officers.

“We appreciate everything you’ve done for us,” Hadden said.

To learn more about the volunteers, updates to code changes and other information brought forth in the city council meeting, including an online video link, visit

Lexington Howe can be reached by email at