Blogging Bayport Alameda

August 8, 2019

Charter side by side: Oakland

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:08 am

I was going to check through a bunch of neighboring Charter cities to see if anyone had language like ours regarding interference.  I started with a list and started working my way down then figured I should just start with the closest cities and work my way outward.

The City of Oakland, folks, is a charter city and they have language in their charter which covers what our section is supposed to cover but they do it much more explicitly and it’s very clear.

As a reminder, here is Alameda’s language:

Neither the Council nor any of the members thereof shall interfere with the execution by the City Manager of his or her powers and duties. Except for purposes of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with that portion of the administrative service for which the City Manager is responsible solely through him or her. An attempt by a Councilmember to influence the City Manager in the making of any appointment or the purchase of any materials or supplies shall subject such Councilmember to removal from office for malfeasance.

And here is Oakland’s language:

Section 218. Non-Interference in Administrative Affairs. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service for which the City Administrator, Mayor and other appointed or elected officers are responsible, solely through the City Administrator, Mayor or such other officers. Neither the Council nor any Council member shall give orders to any subordinate of the City under the jurisdiction of the City Administrator or such other officers, either publicly or privately; nor shall they attempt to coerce or influence the City Administrator or such other officers, in respect to any contract, purchase of any supplies or any other administrative action; nor in any manner direct or request the appointment of any person to or his removal from office by the City Administrator or any of his subordinates or such other officers, nor in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of officers or employees in the administrative service of the City. Violation of the provisions of this section by a member of the Council shall be a misdemeanor, conviction of which shall immediately forfeit the office of the convicted member.

A quick side by side of where I believe they are supposed to align, but where Oakland’s is much less ambiguous:

 

Alameda Oakland
Except for purposes of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with that portion of the administrative service for which the City Manager is responsible solely through him or her. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service for which the City Administrator, Mayor and other appointed or elected officers are responsible, solely through the City Administrator, Mayor or such other officers.
Neither the Council nor any of the members thereof shall interfere with the execution by the City Manager of his or her powers and duties. Neither the Council nor any Council member shall give orders to any subordinate of the City under the jurisdiction of the City Administrator or such other officers, either publicly or privately;
An attempt by a Councilmember to influence the City Manager in the making of any appointment or the purchase of any materials or supplies nor shall they attempt to coerce or influence the City Administrator or such other officers, in respect to any contract, purchase of any supplies or any other administrative action; nor in any manner direct or request the appointment of any person to or his removal from office by the City Administrator or any of his subordinates or such other officers, nor in any manner take part in the appointment or removal of officers or employees in the administrative service of the City.
shall subject such Councilmember to removal from office for malfeasance. Violation of the provisions of this section by a member of the Council shall be a misdemeanor, conviction of which shall immediately forfeit the office of the convicted member.

I think the “direct or request” the appointment or removal is very clear and not up to as much interpretation as “influence.”   Also, depending on the person the ability to be “influenced” may be different depending on the person doing the influence and the person they are attempting to influence.

8 Comments »

  1. This is a bit like telling the judge that the red light wasn’t red enough. Good luck with that.

    And in any case, Oddie & Vella’s words, per the Grand Jury, make it clear they knew it was a violation (make sure you tell em we didn’t pressure you because this pressure isn’t really pressure).

    Comment by dave — August 8, 2019 @ 7:17 am

    • Might you be referring to the passage where CM1 says, “……..you’ll have to be able to tell the folks that think you were pressured that you weren’t”?

      Comment by MP — August 8, 2019 @ 7:27 am

    • dave, I hadn’t heard the one about red light before, but I have heard lawyers say, “I’ve never met a defense I didn’t like!”

      Comment by MP — August 8, 2019 @ 7:41 am

    • On the other hand, at least as to one councilmember, it doesn’t really matter whether the light was very red or just red. According to Jenkins, that councilmember claimed not to have known that there was a traffic light at all. An intersection, yes, perhaps, but not the traffic signal, say, that a fan of Steve Tavares pieces in Alameda Magazine or of Blogging Bayport would have picked up along the way.

      Comment by MP — August 8, 2019 @ 5:51 pm

  2. To rehash:

    “But the [Alameda] City Charter is ABUNDANTLY CLEAR that councilmembers may not promote a particular candidate; such activity is UNEQUIVOCALLY attempting to influence an appointment decision.” Jenkins Report (emphasis supplied).

    “55 minutes of pressure to hire the labor candidate and appease the labor leader”. Grand Jury Report re Alameda Interference, summary of the tape recording.

    Comment by MP — August 8, 2019 @ 7:23 am

  3. The Oakland misdemeanor charges and removal from office for violation of the charter by a council member are among the strongest I’ve seen. Conviction of a misdemeanor in court appears to be necessary to remove a council member from office. Other sanctions that councils can self-enforce without the courts range from a formal letter of sanction,including removal from all posts representing the City on regional or other external bodies to prohibitions on travel and reimbursements for certain discretionary expenses.

    Comment by William Smith — August 8, 2019 @ 10:10 am

  4. Malfeasance is what happened. Now let’s make Removal from Office happen to these two scumbags.

    Comment by KAG — August 9, 2019 @ 1:17 pm

  5. The benefit of being a charter city.

    https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/California-could-lose-housing-leverage-over-14878853.php

    Comment by Mike McMahon — December 4, 2019 @ 7:56 am


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