San Diego City Council Votes on Updating City Charter and Removal of Elected Officials

Image San Diego City Seal


May 19, 2014 (San Diego) San Diego City Council today voted on the Grand Jury recommendation to change the City Charter regarding the removal of Elected Officials. This issue came to a head during the Mayor Bob Filner Scandal, which left the city one option: Recall.

While citizen groups were actively working on this end, and under incredible public pressure Filner finally resigned, this was a problem.

The Council’s response to the Grand Jury finding states that other reasons than just death, resignation or recall had to be identified for removal of elected officials.

The recommendations add that a City Council Supermajority (currently six out of nine members) can vote to remove an official. This is not just for any cause. They have different reasons to do this, and they are:

 · The elected official pleads guilty or no contest to any felony or is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony involving moral turpitude.

 · The elected official is adjudged insane.

· The elected official ceases to be a registered voter or resident of the city or district he/she represents.

 · The elected official ceases to discharge the duties of the office for 90 consecutive days, unless excused by six out of nine Council members.

 In the case of illness or other urgent necessity, and upon a proper showing thereof, the time limited for absence from the city shall be extended to another 40 days by the Council by a vote of at least six out of nine Councilmembers.

 · The elected official is removed from office by a judicial procedure.

· The official’s election or appointment is declared void by a judicial decision.


Image Robert McNamara addressing City Council

 One person came forward to speak to the Council on this issue. Robert McNamara told the Council that in his view the best way to deal with this is with the formation of a Citizen Review Committee. He also told the Council that any vote on this, in the ballot could not happen, by his estimation, before June of 2016.

He added that there were “several viable suggestions.” But he strongly urged Council to form such a committee.

Image Council Member Scott Sherman

 During the discussion Council Member Scott Sherman (District 7) said that he was “supportive of what we are doing here.” He was not the only one.

Image Council Member Mark Kersey

Council Member Mark Kersey thanked Staff for putting this together, and as he said, “the Grand Jury report points out that these issues have to be dealt with.” In his view this is in reactive mode and a full review of the city charter needs to occur. It is completely related to the issues with a Strong Form of Mayor Government that the city has adopted by popular vote.

Sherri Lightner (District One) moved the proposal forward and it was voted for unanimously.


When Council President Gloria pressed the Representative of Mayor Kevin Faulconer on whether the Mayor has an opinion on this, the Representative said that there was no such opinion as of yet.

The unanimous vote today means that the San Diego Council President Todd Gloria will deliver the response to the judge as required by law.

In time City of San Diego citizens will probably be given the opportunity to vote on a proposal, but what exactly that proposal will be is not clear as of yet.

Categories: City Hall Politics

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