With a vote just after midnight, pushing the calendar to Dec. 10, 2019, the council will see the next Mayoral rotation in April of 2020. While the discussion began with a recommendation from the Consideration of City Council Policies Sub-committee, the rest is still officially undecided.
The core of the controversy is that the Mayoral Rotation is a policy; it is not part of the charter, and so it can be shaped, changed or thrown out the window by any council. As has been seen multiple times over the last decade, whatever policy is in place can be ignored.
Council member Alex Fisch offered that, “In all the tumult of the previous rotation, [the sub-committee’s research showed that] council only held to the policy 33% of the time.”
This has been a point brought up often over the last several years in the controversy over the rotation – whatever policy is in place, it has been ignored more often than it’s been honored.
Jamie Wallace spoke from the podium, confessing that she was still angry about the way that the last rotation had been handled, with the newly elected council passing over now Vice Mayor Goran Eriksson for his expected mayoralty. “That’s not what our Culver City traditions are, and that’s not what democracy is.”
While the rotation is set for odd numbered years, the transition to consolidating the election has thrown “ambiguity” in to the next mayoral rotation. The city will be voting for the council on the same ballot as the national election in November. So, turning the mayor in April will leave a ‘short term’ with the next mayor serving only from April 2020 to December 2020.
Mayor Meghan Sahli-Wells stated “Whatever policy of the previous council can’t bind a future council – we have seen this over and over – they can always decide to put it aside, and that was most often the case. The real problem is a math problem, as you have five council members, and four year terms; someone always gets the short end of the stick.”
Council member Thomas Small added “In El Segundo, they have a similar legal situation to the one that we had, and sometimes, it gets bloody. Santa Monica, they have a policy like this one that we are proposing, and they don’t have [those kind of] problems.”
Assistant City Attorney Heather Baker reminded the council that this was the first part of the process. “We need to bring the policy back, all we need tonight is just to schedule the rotation for April of 2020.”
The vote was four to one, with no surprises.