City Council to Take Up Open Seat April 24

By On April 21, 2018

Burbank’s City Council will have a tough Tuesday ahead.

Besides mourning for Will Rogers, who lost his battle to cancer last Thursday, the Council will take up naming a replacement.  Vice-Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy will now assume the duties of Mayor for the remainder of the term which expires May 1, at which time the Council will hold a special reorganization meeting where it will be fully expected for her to officially be voted in to take on the role of Mayor for the coming year.

According to a press release issued by the Public Information Office, “Under the City Charter, the Council has 30 days from the occurrence of the vacancy to fill the Council seat; and if it fails to do so, then the vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor with his or her selection.

As such, the City Council has until May 19, 2018, to fill the vacancy. If the Council fails to act by that day, then the Council Member appointed to serve as Mayor at the May 1, Council reorganization shall appoint the new City Councilmember. Whoever is appointed will serve out Mayor Rogers’ term that currently ends on May 1, 2019. According to the City Charter, the Vice Mayor shall act as the Mayor Pro Tempe through the May 1 reorganization.”

According to the release, the Charter or the Burbank Municipal Code provides specific details to appoint a new Council Member. In a report to the Council, staff says:

The Council needs to select an appointment procedure to fill this vacancy.  Neither the Charter nor the BMC prescribe any selection process. The Council may wish to consider using the appointment process employed in the past to fill vacant elected positions such as done for filling Mr. Kramer’s seat, as well as the City Clerk and City Treasurer in 2012.

If the City Council selects this method during the April 24 Council meeting, the City Clerk’s Office and PIO could start advertising the position immediately through the City’s web page, social media, press releases, newspaper ads and other appropriate methods.  Given the thirty-day requirement, staff recommends that applications be due by noon on Monday, May 7. A Special Council meeting to hold interviews can be scheduled for Thursday, May 10 with Council making an appointment that evening. If, however, the Council needs more time to appoint a candidate another Special Council Meeting can be called for May 17. Whether the appointment is made on May 10 or May 17, staff recommends that a formal swearing-in take place at the May 22 City Council meeting.

Staff is referring to Bob Kramer, who resigned from the Council in February 2002 so that he could take a position with the City.  The City Clerk and Treasurer both resigned in 2012 and were replaced using the formula from above for the unexpired terms that lasted for about a year.

The Burbank Municipal Code does say the following regarding open vacancies on the Council:

SECTION 900. VACANCIES.

(a) A vacancy in the office of Council Member from whatever cause shall be filled by appointment by the Council, such appointee to hold office until the next regularly scheduled municipal election; provided that if the Council fails to agree or for any other reason does not fill such vacancy within thirty (30) days after the same occurs, then such vacancy shall be filled by the Mayor. Should a vacancy occur after the opening of the filing period for election to the office of Council Member, or within thirty (30) days before the beginning of such filing period, then the appointee shall hold office until the regularly scheduled election next following the one for which the filing period is called. Should the appointment be for an unexpired term which has two or more years remaining when the next regularly scheduled election occurs, then the candidate elected who receives the lesser number of votes, shall be deemed elected to the remaining term for which the appointment was made.

(b) If the seats of a majority of the Council shall become vacant, then the City Clerk shall call a special election at once to fill the vacancies for the unexpired terms and the same shall be conducted substantially in the manner provided for General Municipal Elections, and the candidates receiving the greatest number of votes, equal to the number of vacancies, shall be deemed elected.

(c) A vacancy on the Council shall occur if any member of the Council shall fail to attend any regular meeting of the Council for sixty (60) consecutive days without the permission of the Council, or shall fail to qualify, or shall move their place of residence outside the City, or shall cease to be an elector of the City, or shall resign, or be convicted of a felony, or be adjudged mentally incompetent. (Previous Section 26; amended and renumbered by Charter Amendment approved by the voters on April 10, 2007.)

Since the opening comes with a year to go on the term, the City Council will be in charge of picking replacement.  If the opening had come with over two years remaining, Dr. David Gordon would have returned to the Council since he had come in third place in the last election.

If the Council as predicted decides to take applications, any Burbank registered voter who has resided in the City for at least 29 days will be eligible to apply.