The NB City Council Violated Our City Charter
NEWPORT BEACH (September 30, 2003) — Last Tuesday night, the Newport Beach City Council
launched their latest attack on the residents of West Newport, this time
violating our city charter.
Led by Mayor Bromberg, they chose to disregard the
excessive absence clause of our city charter, in an effort to extend the
Section 403 of our city charter states, “If a member of the City Council
absents himself from all regular meetings of the City Council for a period
of sixty days consecutively from and after the last regular City
Council meeting attended by such member, unless by permission of the City
Council expressed in its official minutes, his office shall become vacant
and shall be so declared by the City Council.
Gary Proctor was absent from regular city council meetings from July 8, 2003
until September 9, 2003, a period of 63 consecutive days.
Last Tuesday night, Bryan Clarkson, spokesman for FreeNewport!, pointed
out this violation, noting that the seat should have been declared vacant
upon Gary's return to the council on September 9th. According to the
charter, the city would then have 30 days to fill the seat, or by October
9th. If not, the city would be required to host an election to fill
The council chose to disregard this section of the charter, and instead
chose to recognize Gary' official resignation date of September 30, 2003, to be the
date of the
vacancy. This seemingly minor discrepancy will now allow them 30
days from September 30th to fill the seat, or by October 30, 2003.
"We've done a little research and we do not believe that if the council
declared the office vacant based upon the failure of the minutes to reflect
the excuse, that that declaration would be upheld in a courtroom. We
don't think an office that was held by an elected official would be vacated
for the failure of the minutes to reflect what was clearly an excused
absence," Bob Burnham, City Attorney, September 23, 2003.
"As far as it not being referenced in the minutes, if it's not referenced
in the minutes, I will represent that Mr. Proctor did speak with me and
asked to be excused. And as the mayor I am permitted to excuse on
behalf of the city council, he does not have to get permission from each
city councilmember. As Mr. Burnham indicated, not having it in the
minutes, if the words are not there, that's an administarial issue," Steve
Bromberg, Mayor of Newport Beach, September 23, 2003.
Upon further review of the meeting minutes, FreeNewport! has learned
that in subsequent meetings on July 22, August 12, and August 26, 2003,
Mayor Bromberg approved the prior meeting's minutes, which included the
notation of Gary Proctor's absences. In fact, on August 12, 2003,
Mayor Bromberg actually made the motion to approve the minutes as printed.