Burbank City Council Votes to Contract ‘Mask Police’ and Will Fine Offenders

By On September 18, 2020

The Burbank City Council this week voted 5-0 to enforce a mask order that can potentially fine people for not wearing a mask in public.

Councilmembers discussed many ways to have the public comply with social distance and mask orders from the County and were hesitant to put in a monetary fine. One problem with a mask ordinance is that police would have to issue citations, which would take their time away from patrol and fighting larger crimes.

By issueing an Order, the City Manager can now engage an outside vendor to come into the City to issue the citations. They will be instructed to first try to educate before citing.

Fines can go as high as $500 for repeated violations with the Staff Report citing:

The City’s Municipal Code Section 1-108.1 provides authority for the issuance of Administrative Citations for persons in violation of City code(s). The fine schedule as defined in the Code is $100 for a first citation, $200 for a second citation, and $500 for any subsequent citations issued for violations of the same ordinance within a 12-month period.

The current policy for businesses that are not in compliance with County orders will get a visit from Burbank’s Code Enforcement on a first complaint. If a second complaint is received, the police will go out and talk with the business and if a third complaint is then registered, Burbank will notify the County Health Department to take action.

There had been no policy for individuals until now.

During the meeting, officials said they would concentrate their efforts on the Chandler Bikeway and Downtown Burbank where they have seen the most problematic areas. There was no discussion yet as to the days and hours that the enforcement teams would be working or when they would start.

At this time there was no information given on how the public can report a problem. Calls have been going into the polce department who will respoond an officer to every call and document the situation.

Currently, Glendale, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Torrance all have mask orders with enforcement. Glendale and West Hollywood have police enforcing the Order while Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach both are using an outside contractor as Burbank will do.

Glendale Police (45 citations) and West Hollywood Sheriff Dupitties (approx. 20 to 25 citations) have not cited as many as the private companies that Hermosa Beach (283 citations) and Manhattan Beach (approx. 400 citations) have issued. The report also says that Hermosa Beach has had contact with 2,350 people, giving out 510 masks while Manhattan Beach did not give a contact count but has distributed approx 1400 masks.

It is not known if Burbank will contract with the company operating in those cities.

The Order will expire at the end of the year unless the public health situation changes

Here is the entire section of the Burbank Municipal Code regarding administrative citations:

Burbank Municipal Code Section 1-108.1: Administrative Citations

1-1-108.1: ADMINISTRATIVE CITATIONS

A. Establishment: The procedures established in this section may be in addition to criminal, civil or any other legal remedy established by law which may be pursued to address violations of the Municipal Code. The use of an administrative citation in place of other remedies shall be at the sole discretion of the Enforcement Officer. Issuance of an administrative citation shall not be deemed a waiver of any other enforcement remedies found within this code.

B. Responsible Person, Definition: For the purpose of this section a responsible person is any of the following:

  1. A person who causes a code violation to occur.
  2. A person who maintains or allows a code violation to continue, by his or her action or failure to act.
  3. A person whose agent, employee, or independent contractor causes a code violation by his or her action or failure to act.
  4. A person who is the owner of, and/or a person who is a lessee or sublessee with the current right of possession of, real property where a property related code violation occurs.
  5. A person who is the on site manager of a business who normally works daily at the site when the business is open and is responsible for the activities of such premises.

C. Enforcement Officer: Any Police Officer or City employee or agent of the City of Burbank designated by the Director of any City department which has the authority and responsibility to enforce provisions as set forth in Section 1-1-105 of this code is hereby designated as an Enforcement Officer for the purposes of this section.

D. Contents of Administrative Citation: Each administrative citation shall contain the following information:

  1. Date, approximate time, and address or definite description of the location where the violation(s) was observed.
  2. The code section(s) or conditions violated and a description of the violation(s).
  3. The amount of the fine for the violation(s).
  4. An explanation of how the fine shall be paid and the time period by which it shall be paid.
  5. Identification of rights of appeal, including the time within which the citation may be contested and the place to obtain a request for hearing form to contest the administrative citation.
  6. The name and signature of the Enforcement Officer issuing the citation.
  7. If the violation is one which is continuing, an order to correct the violation and an explanation of the consequences for failing to correct the violation.

E. Service Procedures: In any case where an administrative citation is issued:

  1. Personal Service: The Enforcement Officer shall attempt to locate and personally serve the responsible person and obtain the signature of the responsible person on the administrative citation. If the responsible person served refuses or fails to sign the administrative citation, the failure or refusal to sign shall not affect the validity of the administrative citation or of subsequent proceedings.
  2. Service of Citation by Mail: If the Enforcement Officer is unable to locate the responsible person, the administrative citation shall be mailed to the responsible person by certified mail, postage prepaid with a requested return receipt. Simultaneously, the citation may be sent by first class mail. If the citation is sent by certified mail and returned unsigned, then service shall be deemed effective pursuant to first class mail, provided the citation sent by first class mail is not returned.

F. Fines:

  1. Payment: Any responsible person who receives an administrative citation shall not be required to pay a fine in excess of the following:
  • a. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first issued administrative citation. 
  • Two hundred dollars ($200.00) for a second issued administrative citation for a violation of a same ordinance within a twelve (12) consecutive month period.
  • Five hundred dollars ($500.00) for any subsequent issued administrative citation for violations of the same ordinance within a twelve (12) consecutive month period.
  1. Failure to Pay Fine: The failure of any person to pay the civil fines assessed by an administrative citation may result in the matter being referred for collection which includes, but is not limited to, the filing of a Small Claims Court action.
  2. Waiver of Fine: If an administrative citation is issued for a violation which is continuing and pertains to building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural or zoning issues and which does not create an immediate danger to health and safety, a reasonable period of time shall be given to the responsible party to correct the violation. If the violation is remedied prior to the expiration of the correction period no fine shall be imposed.

G. Satisfaction of Administrative Citation; Upon receipt of a citation, the responsible person must do the following:

  1. Pay the fine to the City within fifteen (15) days from the date of the citation. All fines assessed shall be payable to the Burbank Finance Department. Payment of a fine shall not excuse or discharge a failure to correct continuing violations, nor shall it bar further enforcement action by the City.
  2. If the violation is one which pertains to building, plumbing, electrical, or other similar structural or zoning issues and does not create an immediate danger to health and safety and is corrected within the time given, no fine shall be imposed. If the responsible person fails to correct such violation, all fines must be paid within fifteen (15) days of the correction date and subsequent administrative citations may be issued for the same violation.

H. Appeal of the Administrative Citation:

  1. Time to File an Appeal: Any recipient of an administrative citation may contest that there was a violation of the Burbank Municipal Code or that he or she is the responsible person by completing a “Request for Hearing” form and returning it to the City within fifteen (15) days from the date the administrative citation is served or deemed to have been served, together with an advanced deposit of the fine. Such “Request for Hearing” forms shall be made available at no charge by the Community Development Department or by the City Clerk. A failure to file a timely “Request for Hearing” shall be deemed a waiver of the right to appeal the citation and to seek judicial relief.
  2. Return of Deposit: Any administrative citation fine which has been deposited shall be refunded if it is determined, after a hearing, that the person charged in the administrative citation was not responsible for the violation or that there was no violation as charged in the administrative citation.
  3. Hearing Officer: The Burbank City Manager shall designate the hearing officer for the administrative citation hearing.
  4. Hearing Procedure:
  5. No hearing to contest an administrative citation before a Hearing Officer shall be held unless and until a timely “Request for Hearing” form has been completed and submitted, and, the fine has been deposited in advance.
  6. After receipt of the “Request for Hearing” form and fine deposit, a hearing before the Hearing Officer shall be set for a date that is not less than fifteen (15) and not more than sixty (60) days from the date that the “Request for Hearing” is filed in accordance with the provisions of this section. The person requestingthe hearingshallbenotified of the time and place setfor the hearing at least ten (10) days prior to the date of the hearing. The failure of an recipient of an administrative citation to appear at the hearing shall constitute a forfeiture of the fine and be a bar to judicial review of the Hearing Officer decision based upon a failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
  7. The Hearing Officer shall only consider evidence that is relevant to whether the violation occurred and whether the responsible person has caused or maintained the violation of the Municipal Code on the date(s) specified in the administrative citation.
  8. The responsible person contesting the administrative citation shall be given the opportunity to testify and present witnesses and evidence concerning the administrative citation.
  9. The administrative citation and any additional document submitted by the issuing officer/employee shall constitute prima facie evidence of the respective facts contained in those documents. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
  10. f. Upon request, the recipient of an administrative citation shall be provided with copies of the citations, reports and other documents submitted or relied upon by the issuing officer/employee when issuing the citatio In addition, if the issuing officer/employee submits any additional written reports concerning the administrative citation to the Hearing Officer for consideration at the hearing, a copy of said documentation shall also be served by mail on the person requesting the hearing.
  1. g. The Hearing Officer may continue the hearing and request additional information from the issuing officer/employee or the recipient of the administrative citation prior to issuing a written decisio

 

  1. Hearing Officer’s Decision: After considering all of the testimony and evidence submitted at the hearing, the Hearing Officer may immediately issue a verbal decision or may issue a written decision within ten (10) days of the hearing. The decision shall include the reasons for the decision and such decision shall be final. If the Hearing Officer determines that the administrative citation should be upheld, then the fine amount on deposit with the City shall be retained by the City. If the Hearing Officer determines that the administrative citation should be canceled and the fine was deposited with the City, then the City shall promptly refund the amount of the deposited fine.

I. Collection of Unpaid Fines: Failure to pay the assessed administrative fine within fifteen (15) days or such other time limit set forth in the administrative citation, and/or to successfully challenge by a timely appeal as provided in this section, this obligation shall constitute a special assessment and/or lien against the real property on which the violation occurred. The special assessment and/or lien shall be imposed pursuant to the procedure set forth in Section 9-1-313 of this code. Alternatively, the matter may be referred for collection, which includes, but is not limited to, the filing of a Small Claims Court action.

J. Right to Judicial Review: Any person who is aggrieved by the decision of the Hearing Officer may obtain judicial review of such decision by filing an appeal to be heard as a limited civil case in the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, within twenty (20) days of the decision or service thereof. Such appeal shall be completed pursuant to California Government Code Section 53069.4. The appeal filed with the court must also contain a proof of service showing a copy of the appeal was served upon the “City of Burbank (Attention: City Attorney)”. If the court finds in favor of the contestant the amount of the filing fee, not to exceed twenty five dollars ($25.00), as well as any fine deposit shall be paid to the contestant by the City of Burbank. No other fees or costs shall be paid unless ordered by the court. [Added by Ord. No. 3593, eff. 3/9/02.]