Newport Beach Charter Amendments, Measure EE (November 2012)
Measure EE amended the city charter of Newport Beach in a variety of ways. The amendments range from prohibiting the installation of red light cameras to removing budget preparation duties from commissions to authorizing the city attorney to attend all city meetings.
38 different sections of the Newport Beach charter are amended by the approval of Measure EE. Voters in the city approved a different set of changes to the city charter with the passage of Measure V on the November 2, 2010 ballot.
- Final official results from the Orange County elections office.
Specifically, Measure EE:
- Prohibited the City from taking any action that would result in the installation of red light cameras or other automated traffic enforcement systems in the City of Newport Beach (except toll roads) without subsequent Charter Amendment approved by the voters of Newport Beach.
- Expanded the prohibition on the Council, department heads, officers, board members and commissioners from having a financial interest in contracts/sales/transactions to committee members.
- Required regular Council meetings be held at City Hall and allow one regular Council meeting in August and December.
- Made verbal roll call votes of the Council discretionary.
- Allowed subsections of ordinances to be amended and for ordinance adoption at any Council meeting.
- Required most administrative offices be located at the City Hall site on Avocado Avenue and simplify the location description of City Hall.
- Required the City Manager to maintain a centralized purchasing system, appoint an officer/department head to serve as a temporary manager during brief absences of the City Manager, and notify the Council of the temporary manager’s identity.
- Removed the requirement that the City Manager sit at the Council table during deliberations.
- Removed the requirement that City Manager compensation be set by ordinance/resolution.
- Clarified that the City pays the City Manager’s bond premium.
- Authorized the City Attorney to attend all City meetings.
- Authorized City officers/employees to delegate duties to deputies.
- Authorized the Council to create boards/commissions by resolution, establish a board/commission member’s initial term at board/commission formation, and allow appointment of a person to a vacant position for the unexpired term plus a full term.
- Allowed boards/commissions flexibility to meet as business dictates.
- Removed budget preparation duties from boards/commissions.
- Removed the requirement that the Planning Commission make recommendations regarding individual public works projects/rehabilitation of blighted areas and that the Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission consider/make recommendations regarding the annual budget.
- Consolidated Charter sections for Council compensation/reimbursement while maintaining the amounts received by Council for their service at existing levels.
- Repealed obsolete Charter sections.
- Clarified Charter and State Constitution limitations on Council powers and the process for Charter amendments.
- Required the City’s annual audit report be available within 270 days after the end of the fiscal year and for summary publication thereof.
- Clarified the Council’s authority to authorize employees to execute contracts.
- Prohibited class action claims.
- Added gender neutral language.
- Removed duplicative language and require compliance with the Brown Act.
- Aligned the City’s incompatible office provisions with State law.
The arguments in favor of Measure EE submitted for the official voter guide were signed by:
- Nancy Gardner, Mayor, City of Newport Beach
- Paul Watkins, Chairman, Citizens Charter Update Committee
- Marian Bergeson, Chair, 2010 Citizens Charter Update Commission
- Keith D. Curry, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Newport Beach
- Evelyn Hart, Friends of OASIS, former Mayor
Arguments in favor
In their arguments submitted to the official voter guide, supporters said:
- "Measure EE updates our City Charter to enable our city to work more efficiently and to prevent abuses of authority. Measure EE will prohibit the use of red light camera ticket-traps, which have been discredited in other cities and which are from time to time suggested here. It applies the state conflict of interest protections to the conduct of our city council members and staff it makes clear and transparent what our city council members are being paid and it does not increase in any way their current compensation. Measure EE also incorporates important taxpayer protections against lawsuits. This protects our fiscal health and cash reserves from predatory lawyers who make a living suing public agencies."
- "It modernizes our procedures to reflect the internet age and eliminates unnecessary and costly meetings. Most of our Charter language was written in the 1950’s and 1970’s. Back then, the city’s full audit was required to be published in costly, small print in the newspaper. Now you can find it with a few clicks on the web. The authors at that time could not imagine the internet. At the time, the city had responsibilities for the Board of Education. That has long since changed and Measure EE removes outdated language. Similar to 2010, this Measure reflects the careful consideration and thoughtful deliberations of a diverse Citizens' Charter Committee. The Committee considered testimony over several meetings before recommending these amendments to the Charter. More than three hours of testimony shaped the Committee’s recommendations."
- "The City of Newport Beach is working hard to be more efficient and cost effective. Updating the City Charter provides additional tools to lower taxpayer costs and improve efficiency."
The arguments against Measure EE submitted for the official voter guide were signed by:
- Robert C. Hawkins, Past Chair, Newport Beach Planning Commission
- Jim Mosher, Community Activist
- Lucille Kuehn, Former Newport Beach City Council Member
- Novell Hendrickson, Past Chair, Newport Beach City Arts Commission
- Ron Hendrickson, a 40 year Newport Beach resident
In their arguments submitted to the official voter guide, opponents said:
- "In 2010, a blue ribbon commission thoroughly reviewed the Newport Beach City Charter, and as a result of that effort, voters approved a comprehensive Update said to bring the Charter, our City’s Constitution, into the 21st Century."
- "Now, just two years later, without reason or explanation and in an expedited manner, the City seeks to update our Charter again, this time asking you for a single yes-no vote on an even larger package of problematic proposals."
- "Would you sign a contract without knowing what it says? If not, you need to look more closely at the 38 Charter sections the City proposes to change."
- "First, without any suggestion the City has even been threatened by class action suits, the 2012 Update seeks to strip residents of their right to bring such lawsuits. Second, the 2012 Update seeks to legitimize a generous Council fringe benefit package at a time when other cities are cutting back on Council compensation."
- "In addition, the very first item, "prohibit red light cameras" appears to be just a hook to get your yes vote. It was added at the last minute and was never considered by the Charter Committee. There has been no hint that anyone is proposing redlight cameras for Newport Beach."
- "And it seeks to do many other things which are equally unacceptable: It eliminates clear duties for individual city staff members; It eliminates carefully considered checks and balances over the awarding of city contracts; It reduces (rather than “expands”) conflict of interest protections; It deletes one of the strongest open meeting requirements in the state; and It relaxes rules for recording votes at those meetings."
Text of measure
The question on the ballot:
| Measure EE: Various Amendments to City Charter
Shall the Charter be amended to: prohibit red light cameras; expand conflicts of interest protections; make revisions to Council regulations, powers, and procedures; uniformly set officer compensation; allow offsite administrative offices; adjust officers’ powers and duties; adjust board/commission duties, regulations, and formation; refine financial reporting requirements; consolidate and maintain Council compensation at current levels; delete outdated sections; clarify existing sections; prohibit class action claims; remove duplicative language; and align sections with State law? [YES/NO]
- Argument against Measure EE
- Rebuttal to argument in favor of Measure EE
- No on Measure EE (opposition website)