Lake Forest Council Must Fill Vacancy from Herzog Resignation by December 14
Posted by Chris Nguyen on October 17, 2013
At the Tuesday, October 15, Lake Forest City Council meeting, Councilman Peter Herzog unexpectedly announced his resignation effective immediately. Unfortunately, the video from that meeting has not yet gone online. A Councilman since 1994, Herzog issued a scathing letter of resignation that blasted the Council majority.
Emami has covered Herzog several times here at OC Political, including Herzog’s vote against allowing a Sizzler to have an American flag mural on its outer wall (the majority prevailed over Herzog’s dissent) and Herzog’s vote against allowing invocations at City Council meetings (the majority again prevailed over Herzog’s dissent). You can also see Emami’s extensive coverage of Herzog’s arrest and conviction of a misdemeanor earlier this year. It does seem strange the Herzog is resigning now rather than when he was convicted.
It seems rather odd to resign in protest of a Council majority since the vacancy will permit the Council to appoint an ally. Presumably, American flag murals and meeting invocations are about to strengthen their majority on the Lake Forest City Council.
Government Code Section 36512(b) governs how to fill the vacancy:
If a vacancy occurs in an elective office provided for in this chapter, the council shall, within 60 days from the commencement of the vacancy, either fill the vacancy by appointment or call a special election to fill the vacancy. The special election shall be held on the next regularly established election date not less than 114 days from the call of the special election. A person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy holds office for the unexpired term of the former incumbent.
Consequently, the City Council has 60 days to either fill the vacancy or else trigger a special election. Should the Council choose to fill the vacancy by appointment, they must do so no later than Saturday, December 14. After the October 15 meeting, only November 5, November 19, and December 3 are dates of regularly scheduled meetings of the Lake Forest City Council.
If the Council wishes to appoint a Councilmember and avert a special meeting, they will likely need to agree on an application procedure on November 5, release the application, give adequate time for potential councilmembers to submit their applications, and then interview the applicants presumably on December 3. December 3 is also the date in which the council will decide who will be Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem for 2014.
If the Council decides to go to a special election, they must call the special election within 114 days. Theoretically, if the Council met on Saturday, December 14 (the last day of the 60-day period), they could issue the call for a date before Monday, April 7, 2014. Elections Code Section 1100 mandates that all elections in California occur on a Tuesday, so this would allow for an election as late as Tuesday, April 1. Should the Council call the special election during its regular December 3 meeting, the election could be held as late as Tuesday, March