Council looks at new way of making reappointments

The Chula Vista City Council on Tuesday explored ways to change its reappointment process for members of Chula Vista commissions who are interviewed and appointed by the council.

City staff will come back with a drafted ordinance with the new process the City Council decided on for approval at a later date.

Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan spearheaded the discussion because she felt it was important to have a review, interview all appointed commissioners, instead of automatically reappointing commissioners for a new term as the city does now.

City staff surveyed 45 California cities to look at other possible appointment options for the Growth Management Oversight Commission, the Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning and Civil Service commissions.

Based on that survey and the city’s process, city staff came up with four options for a potential new process. The first option is to leave the process the way it is. Option two is to have an interview component to the existing process where the council could interview. The third option is to form a subcommittee to make reappointment recommendations to the City Council. And the last option is to require incumbents to reapply.

The council unanimously decided on option two, which includes having an interview component for any reappointment.

However, an interview could be waived for those commissioners who have served less than two years. When a commissioner is appointed to fill a mid-term vacancy, they will serve for the remaining expired term,
Chula Vista Mayor Mary Casillas Salas said she favors an interview process to give council members a chance to weigh-in on the commissioners.

“As far as an interview process, I think it’s a good idea,” she said. “First of all, because councils change and it would be a great opportunity for the newer council members to weigh-in on the commissioner who currently holds the appointment.”

Councilwoman Bensoussan said at minimum she would like to see a process that interviews reappointed commissioners.

The city’s current process has commission secretaries responsible for providing council members with approved minutes within 10 days of them being approved. By Dec. 31 the City Clerk’s Office posts a list of all commissioners whose terms are expiring the following fiscal year on the city’s website and library.

In June, yje City Clerk’s Office contacts all commissioners who are eligible to serve another term for consideration of reappointment.

Then in early July the city clerk provides the council with an informational memo that has the attendance records and activities for the previous fiscal year. In mid-July the city clerk puts an item on the agenda for council to determine whether or not to reappoint the commissioners.

Councilman John McCann said the process in place works fine but is open to changes.

“When we look at the process and everything, I think this is a process that we have that is good,” he said. “But we want to make sure that we are still accountable as the council and make sure that we can improve the process.”