By Mario Conde
The Calexico City Council voted to repeal an ordinance that prohibits former council members to get a job for five years after they leave office.
The “City Council-eligibility For Future City Employment” ordinance was changed last December as a request from Councilman Daniel Romero to prohibit former Calexico Council members not being eligible for appointment to a job as City Manager or Department head for four years after leaving office. His proposal was to eliminate any influence that a former council member could have that could result in a conflict of interest.
The ordinance was passed unanimously on December 2, 2008.
According to City Attorney Jennifer Lyon, State Law does not specifically address the issue of outgoing council members seeking employment with the City except to the extent that government code section 1090 prohibits council members from arraigning for future employments with the City while the councilmember is still in office. Lyon also said in her report that the government code prohibits outgoing council members from being paid to lobby the City on behalf of another person/entity within one year of leaving office.
Mayor David Ouzan said that this ordinance is unfair because it blocks job opportunities that are open for people to apply. He argued that other cities in California have a one year waiting clause for former council members to be hired by the City. With that said Mayor Ouzan made a motion to repeal this ordinance and was second by Mayor pro ter John Moreno.
Councilman Romero said that there was a difference between being unfair and maintaining the ordinance that is good for the City. He told Ouzan that the City of El Centro has a five year clause for former council members. Romero concluded by saying that he supports the continuance of this ordinance. The Council voted 4-1 in favor or repealing the ordinance. With the elimination of this ordinance, former council members such as John Renison, Carmen Durazo, and Lewis Pacheco would be eligible for employment at the City of Calexico.
In other items, newly elected Councilman Guillermo Hermosillo declared vacancies on all City Boards, Commissions, and Committees, except on the historical and personnel commission, that former councilman Fuentes appointed and directed City Clerk’s office to advertize vacancies for appointment to be made at next council meeting.
Councilman Luis Castro appointed 2010 City Council candidate Ulises Cardenas to the planning commission filling the spot the Councilman Hermosillo left when he was appointed to City Council.