Ballot Measure X: Voter Ballot Measure for the November 8, 2022 General Municipal Election to Amend the City Charter

At the August 2, 2022 meeting, the City Council adopted a resolution directing staff to present a proposed voter ballot measure on the November 8, 2022 General Municipal Election to amend the City Charter by imposing a lifetime ban for the Mayor after completion of four terms and a lifetime ban for Councilmembers after completion of three terms, requiring approval of two-thirds of the City Council to adopt a budget, expanding the application of the Code of Ethics, utilizing gender neutral language throughout the Charter, changing references to the “Clerk of Council” to “City Clerk” and making other minor clean-up updates. Below is a summary of the proposed amendments.

Section 400: Number, Selection and Term of Members

The current Charter states that the term of each councilmember, including the mayor, shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the second Tuesday of December following certification of election results. This amendment clarifies that term of each councilmember, including the mayor, shall begin at 6:00 p.m. on the first regularly scheduled City Council meeting or at a special City Council meeting following certification of election results.

Section 401.01: Term Limits (new section)

This amendment removes term limit provisions for the mayor and councilmember, from Sections 404 and 401, respectively, and restates those term limit provisions in their entirety into a new Section 401.01 of the Charter. The purpose of this amendment is to reorganize all provisions relating to term limits into one new section.

Section 401.05: Code of Ethics and Conduct (new section)

The current Charter states that the City shall adopt a Code of Ethics and Conduct for elected officials and members of appointed boards, commissions, and committees to assure public confidence in the integrity of the City. This amendment expands the applicability of the Code of Ethics and Conduct to include elected officials, the City Attorney, City Manager, Clerk of Council, Police Chief, and directors of all City departments. Furthermore, this amendment prescribes a process for documenting alleged violations of the Code of Ethics and Conduct in writing to the City Council, as well as a procedure for the City Council to review such alleged allegations.

Section 405: Mayor Pro Tem

The current Charter provides that at the first City Council meeting following any general or special election when councilmembers, including the mayor, are elected, the City Council shall elect a mayor pro tem. This amendment clarifies that the election of the mayor pro tem shall occur each calendar year at the first City Council meeting in January. Furthermore, this amendment clarifies that the mayor pro tem from the previous year cannot be elected as mayor pro tem for the following year, and that the mayor pro tem may be replaced by the affirmative votes of four members of the City Council.

Section 406: Council Judge of Elections and Qualifications of Members

This section declares that the City Council shall be the judge of the election and of the qualifications of its member(s) as defined in Section 401, and shall meet on the first regularly scheduled City Council meeting following certification of election results to declare such election results and install members. This amendment provides that the City Council may also meet at a special City Council meeting to do the same.

Section 413: Adoption (Ordinances)

The current Charter provides a procedure for the adoption of ordinances. This amendments adds resolutions as part of this procedure, as well as clarifies the following: that ordinances may not be amended after the first reading, and that if an ordinance is amended after the first reading, that it must be re-introduced to be consistent with state law; that a resolution or ordinance must be signed as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours following its adoption; and that if the
mayor does not sign a resolution or ordinance, that the mayor pro tem or any councilmember who voted to approve such ordinance or resolution may sign instead.

Section 613: Claims— Formalities; Treasury Warrants

The process for claims as prescribed in the Charter is outdated. This amendment revises this process to streamline the claims and payment process.

Section 1000: Civil Service System

This amendment revises the equal opportunity provisions to clarify that civil service rules and regulations shall provide for such matters as the City Council and Personnel Board may deem necessary, and clarifies that these matters shall be determined with concurrence of the City Council.

Section 1002: Civil Service and Excepted Service

This amendment provides administrative clean-up revisions to ensure compliance with CalPERS rules and other applicable laws and regulations.

Section 1010: Prohibitions

This amendments updates the Charter’s anti-discrimination provisions, as well as requires that the City Council adopt an anti-nepotism policy.

Section 1011: Contract for Performance of Administrative Functions

In 2018, the City Council adopted a resolution changing the name of the Personnel Services Agency to the Human Resources department. To be consistent with these organizational changes, this amendment replaces the word “personnel” to “human resources”.

Section 1014: Work Stoppages

Removes this section in its entirety to be consistent with state law and other applicable laws and regulations.

Section 1208: Enforcement

Section 1206 prescribes rules relating to campaign contribution limits for candidates for mayor or councilmember. Section 1207 prescribes rules relating to campaign committees and bank accounts. Section 1208 provides enforcement provisions relating to Sections 1206 and 1207. This amendment allows that the City to contract with a state or county entity to enforce such provisions.

Section 1400: Employees’ Retirement System

This amendment revises the in-text references to Section 1002 to be consistent with the proposed revisions in Section 1002 relating to Civil Service.

Gender Pronouns (various sections)

Throughout the current Charter, references to City officials use gender-specific pronouns such as he/his/him or his or her. This amendment replaces gender-specific pronouns with they/them to be more inclusive. This change aligns with the contemporary use of pronouns relating to gender.

Clerk of the Council Title (various sections)

The Clerk of the Council intends to replace the title "clerk of the council" with "city clerk" to modernize and better identify this position.

Section 607: Budget Adoption

This amendment would change the voting requirement to approve the City budget from a majority of the City Council to a two-thirds vote of the City Council. This change would be consistent Section 609 relating to the two-thirds voting requirement to appropriate City funds.

Sections 401 and 404, and Proposed New Section 401.01)

This amendment would impose a “lifetime ban” by removing the eight-year cooling-off provision (sections 401 and 404). This means that after a Mayor or member of the City Council has reached their term limit (four 2-year terms for Mayor and three 4-year terms for Councilmember), they would no longer be eligible to serve on the City Council.

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