PALM SPRINGS – In about 10 months, Mayor Pro Tem Geoff Kors could conceivably become the next mayor of Palm Springs.
That is the scenario that will play out if he wins re-election in November and the City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 20 adopts a resolution establishing the procedure for selecting the mayor and mayor pro tem in the new district-based election system. The proposed procedure is similar to that used in other Coachella Valley cities that rotate the role of mayor among City Councilmembers, including Palm Desert, Indio, Rancho Mirage, and now Cathedral City.
The proposed procedure is based on seniority on the City Council. With Mayor Rob Moon and Councilmember J.R. Roberts not seeking re-election, Kors is the most senior member of the City Council.
To date, Kors has no opposition in his bid for election in District 3.
On Dec. 19, 2018, the City Council adopted Ordinance No. 1971 enacting a five-district electoral system in which the mayor and mayor pro tem are to be appointed from among the City Council. It is now necessary for the City Council to establish a method for selecting the mayor and mayor pro tem prior to the end of the current term of at-large Mayor Moon.
The City Council Subcommittee on the California Voting Rights Act – Kors and Lisa Middleton — has reviewed methods for selecting a mayor and mayor pro tem from comparable cities and has recommended adoption of the resolution.
The purpose of the proposed resolution is to implement a rotating system for the appointment of Councilmembers to the honorary leadership positions.
The proposed resolution says that at the first City Council meeting in December of 2019, the City Council shall appoint a Councilmember to serve as Mayor and a Councilmember to serve as Mayor Pro Tem in accordance with the following:
1. The Councilmember with the longest continuous length of service on the City Council shall be appointed to serve as the top leader.
2. The Councilmember with the second longest continuous length of service on the City Council shall be appointed to serve as the second leader.
3. Each Councilmember who was serving on the City Council as of December 2019 must have an opportunity to serve as Mayor under this rotational system before serving as the top leader a second time.
4. A Councilmember shall not serve as Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem during their first year on the City Council.
5. In the event that there are two or more Councilmembers who have served continuously on the City Council for the same amount of time, such as Middleton and Christy Holstege, seniority would be determined by the number of votes each Councilmember received at the last election where they were elected to serve on the City Council.
At the request of a Councilmember, the City Council may grant deferral of a Councilmember’s term as the chief dignitary or the No. 2 leader for good cause and return to the rotation shall require approval of the City Council.
Under the proposed resolution, a Councilmember may decline to serve in either of the top two posts. f a Councilmember declines to serve in either position, the selection of each of the two positions shall continue as provided but removing the declining Councilmember from the rotation.
Every Councilmember who does not decline or defer their appointment shall have an opportunity to serve as the chief dignitary and second in command every five years.