14 Resolution Declaring that One Council Office Subject to Election at the November 2016 General Election Shall Only Serve a Two Year Term in Order to Evenly Stagger City Council Seats Subject to Election in the Future (California Government Code Section 34906).

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Meeting Date: April 05, 2016

STAFF REPORT

AGENDA ITEM: Resolution Declaring that One Council Office Subject to Election at the November 2016 General Municipal Election Shall Only Serve a Two Year Term in Order to Evenly Stagger City Council Seats Subject to Election in the Future (California Government Code Section 34906)

MEETING DATE: April 5, 2016

PREPARED BY: Jose M. Sanchez, City Attorney

REVIEWED BY: Odi Ortiz, Interim City Manager

RECOMMENDATION:

Adopt Resolution _, declaring, pursuant to California Government Code section 34906, that one Council Office subject to election at the November 2016 general municipal election shall serve a two­ year term in order to evenly stagger City Council seats subject to election in the future.

BACKGROUND:

This year there will be three Council Members and the Mayor up for reelection. This means that four out of the five members of the City Council seats will be on the November ballot. In 2018 only one Council Member and the Mayor will be up for reelection. This type of "staggering" for purposes of elections is not normal and creates the potential of instability for the City.

Pursuant to State law, Livingston’s voters approved making the office of Mayor directly elected for a two-year term at the November 2000 general municipal election. The two-year term began with the Mayor elected in November 2002, a year when only two City Council seats were up for election. As required by law, one of those two Council seats was converted to the position of Mayor. Voters in 2002, therefore, only voted for the Mayoral seat and one City Council seat.

As a result, in 2004, voters voted on three Council seats and the Mayor. This pattern has subsequently repeated itself.

In 2014 the City Council attempted to realign the offices up for election by placing a measure on the ballot which would reinstate the Mayoral term as a four-year term. A majority of the Livingston voters did not approve the measure.

The City Council has expressed an interest in realigning the City Council seats so that they are evenly staggered, meaning that every two years there are two Council seats up for election along with the Mayoral seat at the general municipal election.

DISCUSSION:

State law addresses this exact situation and provides a method by which the City may create evenly staggered City Council terms. Under Government Code section 34906, the City Council may declare that of the City Council Member seats appearing on the November 8, 2016 general municipal ballot, other than the office of the Mayor, the one which receives the least votes of those elected (or if there is a tie for such a position, as decided by lot) shall serve a two-year term. That Council seat would then revert back to a four-year term at the 2018 election and beyond.

What this means is that of the three Council seats up for election this year (November 2016), the Candidate that receives the third highest votes (3rd place in total number of votes) would only serve a two-year term. That Council seat would be up for election again in 2018 where it will go back to being a four-year term.

Going through this process would achieve the desired result of having two Council seats on the ballot at every regular municipal election, along with the Mayoral seat. The Council must do this by July 18th and may do it only one time.

Government Code section 34906 states:

Notwithstanding Section 36503, if a city has an elected mayor and the election of the remaining members of the city council for four-year terms is not evenly staggered, the city council may, on a one-time basis only and prior to the first day for circulating nomination papers for the general municipal election, designate one of the city council offices appearing on the general municipal ballot, other than the office of the mayor, to serve a two-year term, or may provide that of the city council offices appearing on the general municipal ballot, other than the office of the mayor, the one which receives the least votes of those elected (or if there is a tie for such a position, as decided by lot) shall serve a two-year term. At all subsequent general municipal elections, each member of the city council elected at such election, other than the mayor if the mayor has a two-year term, shall be elected to serve a four-year term.

If the City Council desires to realign the City Council seat elections so that they are evenly staggered, Staff recommends adoption of the attached Resolution.

ATTACHMENTS:

1. Resolution No. 2016-_

2620392.1

2620392.2

RESOLUTION NO. 2016-

RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF LIVINGSTON DECLARING, PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA GOVERNMENT CODE SECTION 34906, THAT ONE COUNCIL OFFICE SUBJECT TO ELECTION AT THE NOVEMBER 2016 GENERAL MUNICIPAL ELECTION SHALL SERVE A TWO­ YEAR TERM IN ORDER TO EVENLY STAGGER CITY COUNCIL SEATS SUBJECT TO ELECTION IN THE FUTURE

WHEREAS, pursuant to State law, Livingston’s voters approved making the office of Mayor directly elected for a two-year term at the November 2000 general municipal election; and

WHEREAS, the two-year term began with the Mayor elected in November 2002, a year when only two City Council seats were up for election. As required by law, one of those two Council seats was converted to the position of Mayor. Voters in 2002, therefore, only voted for the Mayoral seat and one City Council seat; and

WHEREAS, as a result, in 2004, voters voted on three Council seats and the Mayor.

This pattern has subsequently repeated itself; and

WHEREAS, in 2014 the City Council attempted to realign the offices up for election by placing a measure on the ballot which would reinstate the Mayoral term as a four-year term. A majority of the Livingston voters did not approve the measure; and

WHEREAS, California Government Code section 34906 sets forth the procedure to realign City Council seats in this situation so that they are evenly staggered, meaning that voters vote on two City Council seats and the Mayoral seat every two years; and

WHEREAS, Government Code section 34906, read as follows:

"Notwithstanding Section 36503, if a city has an elected mayor and the election of the remaining members of the city council for four-year terms is not evenly staggered, the city council may, on a one-time basis only and prior to the first day for circulating nomination papers for the general municipal election, designate one of the city council offices appearing on the general municipal ballot, other than the office of the mayor, to serve a two-year term, or may provide that of the city council offices appearing on the general municipal ballot, other than the office of the mayor, the one which receives the least votes of those elected (or if there is a tie for such a position, as decided by lot) shall serve a two-year term. At all subsequent general municipal elections, each member of the city council elected at such election, other than the mayor if the mayor has a two-year term, shall be elected to serve a four-year term."

WHEREAS, this process would mean that of the three Council seats up for election this year (November 2016), the Candidate that receives the third highest votes (3rd place in total number of votes) would only serve a two-year term. That Council seat would be up for election again in 2018 where it will go back to being a four-year term; and

WHEREAS, this would achieve the desired result of having two Council seats on the ballot at every regular municipal election, along with the Mayoral seat. The Council must do this by July 18th and may do it only one time; and

WHEREAS, this procedure would not affect the Mayoral seat. The office of the Mayor would continue to serve two-year terms; and

WHEREAS, the City Council desires to follow the procedures of Government Code section 34906 to realign City Council seat elections so that two Council seats are up for election every two years.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the City Council of the City of Livingston as follows:

1. In accordance with Government Code section 34906, the City Council hereby declares that of the City Council offices appearing on the November 8, 2016 general municipal ballot, other than the office of the Mayor, the one which receives the least votes of those elected (or if there is a tie for such a position, as decided by lot) shall serve a two-year term; and

2. The City Council office selected to only serve a two-year term in the November 2016 general municipal election, shall return to a four-year term in 2018 as provided for in Government Code section 34906; and

4. The City Clerk is hereby authorized and directed to forward this Resolution to the County Elections Official and to prepare all necessary election documents, including subsequent City Council Resolutions calling for the general municipal election, to incorporate this designation; and

5. This Resolution shall take effect immediately upon passage.

Passed and adopted this day of April 2016, by the following vote:

AYES:

NOES:

ABSTAIN:

ABSENT:

 
   

Rodrigo Espinoza, Mayor of the City of Livingston

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ATTEST:

I, hereby certify, that the foregoing resolution was regularly introduced, passed, and adopted at a regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Livingston this day of , 2016.

 
   

Antonio Silva, City Clerk of the City of Livingston

2620388.2

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