Charter Reform Committee Violates the City Charter

San Bernardino’s newly appointed Charter Reform Committee (now being called the Volunteer-Citizen Based Charter Committee) appears to have a big problem on its hands.

As currently established, the Committee clearly violates Section 51 of the San Bernardino City Charter.

Charter Section 51 reads as follows:

The Mayor, with the consent and approval of the Common Council, shall appoint all officers, and all members of joint powers authorities, committees, and commissions, regardless of whether they are local, county, regional, state or otherwise, except those appointments made by the City Manager or by elected officials pursuant to this Charter, and except any other appointments for which this Charter expressly provides otherwise, and shall fill all vacancies in an elective office not otherwise provided for in this Charter…

The key take away here is this:

The Mayor, with the consent and approval of the Common Council, shall appoint…all members…of committees,…regardless of whether they are local, county, regional, statewide or otherwise…except any other appointments for which this Charter expressly provides otherwise.”

The Charter Committee is clearly a local committee where the appointment of its membership is not expressly laid out in the City Charter, therefore its total membership must be appointed by Mayor Carey Davis with a vote of consent on each appointment from the members of the San Bernardino City Council.

That’s not how the nine members of the Charter Committee were appointed.

The City Council approved the creation of this Committee, but Mayor Carey Davis did not appoint its nine members.

Davis appointed two members and each of the seven City Councilmembers appointed one member to the Committee.

Under Charter Section 51 however, the seven committee members appointed by individual members of the City Council must actually be appointed by the Mayor with a vote of consent by the City Council as a whole.

The Mayor did not appoint these seven members and the entire City Council did not approve the appointment of each individual with a vote of ratification.

Similarly, while Carey Davis did appoint two members to the Charter Reform Committee, neither of  his appointments were approved by a vote of the City Council as a whole as required by Section 51.

Since the appointment of the members to this Volunteer Citizen-Based Charter Committee does not comply with the specific letter of the San Bernardino City Charter Section 51, the meeting of the Committee tomorrow would be in violation of the City Charter.

To comply with the City Charter, any and all meetings of the Charter Committee should be postponed until Mayor Davis formally appoints the members of the Committee and the City Council gives its vote of consent.  This  will procedurally rectify the existing issues of the Charter Committee.

Additionally, had Charter Section 51 been followed as required, it would have enabled the Mayor and City Council to realize the lack of diversity in the in the Charter Committee’s membership.

The makeup of the Charter Committee completely excludes the participation of women and Latinos – although women make up more than half of San Bernardino’s population and Latinos account for 60% of our city’s residents, according to the U.S. Census.

Perhaps by going back and complying with Charter Section 51 to make appointments to this body, the Mayor and City Council can correct this glaring matter of discrimination.

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