City Council: Conflict of interest legal opinion request on Monday’s agenda

January 04, 2013
Santa Paula City Council

At Monday’s meeting the City Council will consider authorizing the city attorney to prepare a formal opinion on potential conflict of interest issues relative to newly elected Councilman Martin Hernandez.

The meeting will be held January 7 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers. The session will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 and replayed per schedule. The meeting will also be live-streamed on the city’s website and archived for viewing on demand.  

There are few items of business on Monday’s agenda, but one that is sure to cause discussion by the council and the public is the request for City Attorney John Cotti to prepare an opinion on whether or not Hernandez, chief of staff to Supervisor Kathy Long, has conflicts of interest on land-use issues coming before the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) and on issues related to the Ventura County Transportation Commission.

At the December 17 meeting the issue of Hernandez’s relationship to the issues as a county employee in general and Long’s aide in particular was discussed when the LAFCo issue - centered on possibly removing Adams and Fagan canyons from the city’s sphere-of-influence - was addressed. Long is a LAFCo commissioner.

According to the staff report by City Manager Jamie Fontes, Hernandez was asked about possible conflicts and Hernandez declared no conflict existed. At that time the council did discuss asking for a legal opinion on the issue from Cotti, and the council addressed the issue again during the portion of the meeting devoted to future agenda items.

The item regarding the legal opinion appears under Consent Calendar items, those usually considered routine and not requiring council or public discussion. Also at Monday’s meeting Fire Chief Rick Araiza will introduce new personnel, the only presentation. 

In other business the council will appoint a new Planning Commissioner, consider the annual appointments by the mayor to standing committees and city council ad hoc committees, and the formation of a Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee for the 2013-14 application cycle. 

City Hall is located at 970 E. Ventura Street.

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