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Lathrop mayor directs staff to snap 140 photos of art, e-mail them to her in DC
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LATHROP — Lathrop Mayor Kristy Sayles directed city staff to set aside municipal business and take photos of 140 art entries and e-mail them to her in Washington, D.C.

Staff complied with her request following an altercation at the city hall’s art gallery that is sending her husband Tom Sayles, Ron Rhodes – husband of former Lathrop Mayor Gloryanna Rhodes – and Dan MacNeilage – a planning commission member and unsuccessful council candidate – to appear in court May 22.

The mayor is currently in Washington, D.C., on a five-day lobbying trip with the San Joaquin Council of Government’s One Voice team.

She left on Saturday, which meant she was not going to be able to select the winner of the Mayor’s Art Purchase Award Show and Sale. Entries were accepted Friday and Saturday with judging by University of the Pacific Art professor, Diane Hunt, selecting the category winners Saturday afternoon. The winners of the sponsor awards were also made at the same time.

The grand prize, the Mayor’s Purchase Award which is given to the art piece selected by the mayor, was supposed to be chosen on the same day for the show to officially open on Monday. Opening the show to the public also meant that all of the art pieces are available for purchase. However, with the mayor informing the committee that she won’t be able to make a selection until she gets back on Friday, the committee members were faced with the dilemma  of whether to tell visitors that none of the art pieces were on sale until Friday or to close the exhibit until the mayor made her selection.

The art committee in charge of this popular annual event then made the decision to ask Vice Mayor Martha Salcedo to do the honors on the understanding that when the mayor is away, the vice mayor takes over the duties of the mayor. She agreed but then backed out after she was informed by the mayor by phone Sunday night that she was going to do it.

The mayor came up with a solution to the dilemma. On Monday, she called staff at City Hall and instructed them to send her via e-mail pictures of all the 140 entries. Public Works Director Steve Salvatore, who was left in charge at City Hall while City Manager Cary Keaten was also on the same D.C. lobbying trip, said they took pictures of all the art pieces and then had them e-mailed to the mayor so that she could make her selection.

“These are high quality digital photos,” Salvatore said of the pictures that were provided electronically to the mayor.

On Tuesday, Sayles notified the committee and Salvatore that she has made her pick. Joyce Gatto, the committee chairman and a member of the small group that started this project 16 years ago, said the mayor decided to choose a piece that was not one of the three entries which the committee, with assistance from the show judge, recommended for the mayor to choose from as has been the practice in previous years.

About four or five pieces were sold before the mayor notified City Hall of her final selection Tuesday afternoon. Gatto said they made sure the buyers were informed that the sale was not going to be final until they receive word on the mayor’s choice. Salvatore added that the art pieces that were purchased were not among the three that were recommended to the mayor for the Purchase Award.

Entries are simply marked SOLD and not removed from the exhibit until the final day of the show, which is on Friday, May 8, when the reception for the artists will be held at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Members of the Mayor’s Art Purchase Award Show and Sale committee headed by Gatto are Tony and Cindy Martin, Anne Doyle, Randy Johnson, and Councilman Christopher Mateo.

The show, which is held in the Council Chambers at City Hall, is open to the public during regular business hours. Lathrop City Hall is located at 390 Towne Centre Drive at Mossdale Landing.