City Council Seeks to Clarify Question of Mayoral Rotation

CATHEDRAL CITY —  The ordinance governing the rotation of the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem positions was originally adopted in 2017, but during the Council goal-setting session on Jan. 30,  City Council developed a goal to clean up the ambiguities on the Mayoral rotation ordinance.

That is what it aims to do during a special meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 4 at 2 p.m.

Since its adoption, and based on the experience with the rotation process, a some questions have arisen which Council would like to consider in more detail and possibly amend the ordinance to add clarity.

Some of questions include;

1. First, the ordinance calls for appointments to made based on seniority but doesn’t clearly address how a Councilmember’s seniority is affected once the member has served as Mayor. Specifically, do Councilmembers elected after another Councilmember has served as Mayor go ahead of the former Mayor in the seniority order or does the end of the term as Mayor become the new seniority date?

2. The tiebreaking mechanism in the current ordinance relies on total votes in the election when the two tied Councilmembers were elected to break a tie in seniority. This probably made sense when Councilmembers were elected at-large, as the two tied Councilmembers would have been on the same ballot together. Now that the City has moved to a district system for electing Councilmembers, they are on separate district ballots and there are likely different numbers of eligible voters and actual voters in each district as well as potentially a different number of candidates on the ballot. Another option would be to move to a random tie breaker such as a coin flip, a number draw or something along those lines.

3. Does the Council want the ability to override the rotation ordinance in circumstances where it appears it will not work as intended either by a simple majority vote or should there be a supermajority requirement?

4. Should the rotation be tied to a scheduled rotation among the districts rather than based on the seniority of the Councilmembers?

5. Should there be a provision so that Council can authorize a member to serve consecutive terms as Mayor?

6. The current ordinance provides that if a Mayor serves less than a full term by any amount, he/she is still eligible for a full term. Should there be some provision defining how much of a term counts as a full term for the purposes of the rotation? More than half? More than three quarters?

7. Does the Council want to fill the Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem slots by nomination and vote each year in lieu of a rotation system?

The City Attorney’s office has prepared a draft ordinance revision, which is attached and will complete the revision based on the input received from Council during this study session. The amended ordinance will then be placed on a future agenda for
consideration and possible adoption.

A significant portion of the draft ordinance follows:

1. The current Mayor Pro Tem shall automatically succeed to the position of Mayor.

2. The City Council member who has served for the longest continuous period of time on the City Council and who has not previously served as Mayor Pro Tem shall be appointed to serve as the Mayor Pro Tem.

3. Each Council member serving on the City Council at the time appointments are made must have the opportunity to serve as Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem under this rotational system before a City Council member may serve as Mayor or Mayor Pro tem a second or subsequent time.

4. Aa Council member shall not serve as Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem during their first year on the City Council.

Mayor Pro Tem Ernesto Gutierrez is next inline to serve as mayor.


Image Sources

  • Raymond Gregory being sworn into office. Gregory-: Raymond Gregory