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November 3, 2020 — California General Election
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Local

City of Santa Monica
Measure AB - Majority Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Passing

27,768 votes yes (60.18%)

18,371 votes no (39.82%)

Shall the City Charter be amended to repeal provisions setting rules for appointing candidates and promoting employees into the Civil Service, to enable the City Council to advance equity-based hiring within the appointment and promotional processes and strengthen the City's workforce?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

Impartial analysis / Proposal

George S, Cardona, Interim City Attorney

This measure would remove from the City Charter two provisions that establish rules for appointing candidates and promoting employees to open positions within the City's classified service.

Article XI of the City Charter contains personnel rules. Charter Section 1107, titled "Performance Evaluations,"currently requires, in the last paragraph, that promotions be made on the basis of ascertained merit, credit and seniority in service, and examination, and that vacancies be filled by promotion upon competitive examinations unless the appointing authority in particular instances believes it impractical or not in the best interest of the public service, and the reasons therefor are submitted to and approved by the Personnel Board. Charter Section 1108, titled "Appointments," currently implements the "Rule of Three," which requires that when there is an open position, the Personnel Director provides the appointing authority the names of the three highest candidates on the promotional eligible list or the names of the candidates in the top three bands on an open (non-promotional) eligible list for the position. Section 1108 also provides that, when no eligible lists are available, the Personnel Board may authorize the appointing authority to make temporary appointments for up to 180 days, to prevent the stoppage of public business and meet extraordinary conditions.

This measure would amend Section 1107 by eliminating the last paragraph, and repeal Section 1108.

The Santa Monica Municipal Code currently contains provisions that implement the above rules -- Municipal Code Section 2.04.240 requires that promotional lists based on examination be used as required by Charter Section 1107; Municipal Code Section 2.04.140 implements the Rule of Three set forth in Charter Section 1108; and Municipal Code Section 2.04.180 permits temporary appointments as set forth in Charter Section 1108. These Municipal Code provisions, however, may be amended or repealed by action of the City Council, unlike the existing Charter provisions, which may be amended or repealed only by submission of a measure for approval by the voters.

The Santa Monica City Council placed this measure on the ballot. A "yes" vote supports the passage of the amendment to the Santa Monica City Charter; a "no" vote opposes passage of the amendment. A majority vote (i.e., more than 50% of the votes cast) is required to pass the measure.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

Argument In Favor

Our City Council continually strives to promote the values of equity, transparency, inclusiveness, and diversity. Measure AB will allow the City Council to modernize the City Charter rules for hiring and promoting City staff to further these values.

Why vote YES?

- It is time to modernize our rules for hiring and promoting City staff to align with current best practices!

- It is time to remove barriers to employment that prevent qualified workers from upward mobility and growth!

- It is time to revitalize our Charter to better serve the diverse needs of our community!

Voting YES allows your City to reform and modernize its staff recruitment practices to further ensure that the City's personnel structure aligns with our values of equity, transparency, inclusiveness, and diversity, and is better reflective of the greater community.

Voting YES on AB allows our City to develop staff recruitment practices that work not just for a few, but for ALL.

Now is the time for ACTION! Vote YES!

This measure is unanimously supported by all members of the City Council. Vote YES on Measure AB.

SUE HIMMELRICH

Santa Monica City Councilmember

MICHAEL SOLOFF

Co-Chair, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights

JON KATZ

President, Santa Monica Democratic Club

ERIKA AKLUFI

Chair, Santa Monica Police Officers Association

TONY VAZQUEZ

Chair, Board of Equalization, 3rd District

Arguments AGAINST

Don’t Let Council Change the Rules to Brazenly Hire its Preferred City Employees

This is a power grab to give high paying jobs to friends and political supporters.

It does not deliver personnel diversity or equity based hiring.

Do you really want to give the one-faction Santa Monica Council MORE power?

The charter requires City positions be chosen from the 3 top scoring candidates on the Civil Service test. The Council now wants the sole power to fill staff positions.

A simple solution is to amend the City Charter to read “top 10%” or even “top 20%”. This would increase diversity of candidates but also ensure a talented and qualified staff will be getting our generous salaries.

It also leaves standards in the open and transparent.

Do not let the Council fool you with clever wording.

Say NO to favors for friends of the politicians.

Say NO to padded jobs for insiders.

Say NO to nepotism and cronyism.

Vote NO.

PETER TIGLER

Former Member City of Santa Monica Charter Review Commission

MICHAEL FERNANDEZ

Santa Monica Resident

MICHELLE DUNCAN

Former City of Santa Monica Employee

DON GRAY

Former Chair, Pico Neighborhood Association

CLARA BEN RAY

Retired School Teacher

Replies to Arguments FOR

This Council brags vociferously and often about its talented top-tier staff.

Now they claim they do not use best practices to hire them?

Or that current standards do not produce the staff they brag about?

Or that unspecified "barriers" have been sanctioned for the 40 years this group has controlled City Hall?

Holy smokes! Where's the logic?

Their argument highlights just how self-serving a scheme this is:

1. Eliminate the Charter hiring provisions, do not tell voters what the new system will be.

2. Give more power to the one-faction crony prone Council.

3. Trust them and their back room, closed-door decisions.

Yikes!

Is it not the case our City employees are already a diverse group?

City Hall provides zero data or evidence that it is not so.

That said, a larger qualified candidate pool is better for us all.

The way to enlarge and diversify the pool of qualified candidates

is to allow more of those candidates to advance.

THE SIMPLE FIX IS TO AMEND THE CHARTER LANGUAGE to allow a larger pool.

Cross-out the "3 candidate only" clause and insert a larger number.

Period. End of story.

Say NO to favors for friends of the politicians.

Say NO to padded jobs for insiders.

Vote NO on Measure AB.

PETER TIGLER

Former Member City of Santa Monica Charter Review Commission

MICHAEL FERNANDEZ

Santa Monica Resident

MICHELLE DUNCAN

Former City of Santa Monica Employee

DON GRAY

Former Chair, Pico Neighborhood Association

CLARA BEN RAY

Retired School Teacher

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

VOTE TO MODERNIZE OUR HIRING WITH MEASURE AB

The Obama administration fixed this in 2010.

The California legislature and governor fixed this in 2015.

Now Santa Monica must fix this with Measure AB, which will remove the outdated, burdensome "Rule of 3"from our City Charter.

Measure AB is just a first step in elevating Santa Monica's personnel practices to create a modern, streamlined government. Removing the "Rule of 3" from the Charter will open the pathway for our human resources department to propose for adoption by the City Council modernized personnel rules to seek more equity, morediversity, and more excellence throughout our employee ranks.

Opponents falsely claim that Measure AB will allow the City Council to place its friends in City jobs. This preposterous statement disregards the restrictions in Section 610 of the Charter, which forbids the City Council from ordering or directing any hiring or dismissal of any City employee other than the City Manager, the City Attorney, and the City Clerk.

Santa Monica needs Measure AB to move us forward in efforts to recruit and promote employees who will helpus build a resilient, inclusive, and modern government for our future.

SUE HIMMELRICH

Santa Monica City Councilmember

MICHAEL SOLOFF

Co-Chair, Santa Monicans for Renters Rights

JON KATZ

Affirmative Action Committee Member, California Democratic Party

ERIKA AKLUFI

Chair, Santa Monica Police Officers Assoc.

TONY VAZQUEZ

Chairman, California Board of Equalization, District 3

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