A proposed amendment to an ordinance within the Chula Vista city code regarding boards and commissions was changed once again Tuesday after council members struggled over details.
The ordinance, written by city staff following a Jan. 8 meeting at the request of Mayor Cheryl Cox and a majority of the council, would have given Cox the ability to conduct interviews and nominations for a city board and commission.
Specifically, the proposed ordinance amended the interview and nomination process for the Board of Library Trustees and Growth Management Oversight Commission, changing it from full council to mayor-only, with final appointments for boards and commissions approved by the council.
However, after council discussion on Tuesday, Cox asked that the ordinance be amended to leave the Growth Management Oversight Commission as it is, requiring the council as a whole to conduct interviews and nominations.
The revised ordinance changed the interview and nomination process for the Board of Library Trustees only and will be placed on the Feb. 5 agenda for its first reading, according to the city clerk.
Of concern to one resident was the council’s perceived difficulty in getting everyone together at the same place and time to vote for new members of boards and commissions.
“You’re making the case that this is very critical or very, very important because the city can’t meet and decide these issues … and I am questioning that,” Chula Vista resident David Danciu said. “Why is it so difficult to bring the council together?”
Councilwoman Mary Salas agreed that it’s more difficult than it should be.
“I think we ought to look at each other and ask ourselves are we really putting in the work?” Salas said. “These board and commission appointments are one of our biggest responsibilities.”
Councilwoman Pat Aguilar agreed with her colleague’s sentiment.
“I think that if we agree to change this ordinance the way it’s recommended … the mayor will be acting independently … but I think it’s more democratic and better for the city as a whole if we act together on these things,” Aguilar said.
“Another alternative would be if we simply ask staff to look into getting these appointments done more quickly.”
Councilman Rudy Ramirez suggested that meetings to endorse new members go forward despite absent council members.
“I think in order to solve the problem we just need to call the meeting and if people aren’t there, too bad,” Councilman Rudy Ramirez said. “Especially with the Growth Management Oversight Committee — this is the heart of … this city. I think it’s the responsibility of the council to be present and vet the process.”
Currently, city code 2.25.050 requires interviews and nominations by the mayor for all boards and commissions with the exception of the Board of Library Trustees, Growth Management Oversight Commission, the Board of Ethics, Civil Service Commission, Design Review Board, Mobile Home Rent Review Commission, Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission.
The city has several boards and commissions which provide public input to city government officials and facilitate quality decision-making. Members are volunteers and can only serve two consecutive four-year terms.
City charter section 602 requires City Council approval of all appointments to boards and commissions; however, the charter does not address the nomination and interview process.
General rules include that the city clerk keeps applications for prospective membership on boards and commissions.
Once a vacancy occurs the clerk forwards the applications to the mayor, who reviews them and selects the applicants to be interviewed, conducts the interviews and makes nominations for appointment, subject to City Council approval.
Members of each board and commission are appointed by at least three affirmative votes of the City Council.