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Council to Launch Process Next Week to Fill Vacant Council Seat

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By Jorge Casuso

May 28, 2021 -- The process to fill the vacancy left when Councilmember Kevin McKeown retires on June 11 will begin at a special Council meeting Wednesday.

At the meeting, the Council will first acknowledge McKeown's letter announcing his retirement, which was submitted Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he shocked the council with an abrupt 45-second announcement that he would retire before completing his 23rd year ("McKeown Abruptly Retires," May 26, 2021).

The letters reads:

Dear Council Colleagues, Staff, and Community,

I very much appreciate your engagement and support over these many years. Thank you.

I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me -- the privelege and honor of being able to be of service to the city I deeply love.

With this letter I officially announce my retirement from the City Council. My last day will be June 11th.


Kevin McKeown

The Council will then adopt a Resolution declaring a vacancy on the City Council as of June 11 and discuss the next steps for filling the vacancy in accordance with the City Charter.

The Charter states that any Council vacancy "shall be filled by appointment by the City Council, with the appointee holding office until the first Tuesday following the next general municipal election."

Should the Council “fail to fill a vacancy by appointment within thirty days after such office shall have been declared vacant,” the Council “shall forthwith cause an election to be held to fill the vacancy.”

The Council on Wednesday will also provide direction to City staff that includes setting the schedule for accepting applications.

The last time the Council failed to fill a vacant seat was in 1998 after Councilmember Asha Greenberg resigned when her family moved out of the City.

The Council then voted to hold the nation's first special weekend election on April 24 and 25, which was won by Richard Bloom, the current California Assemblymember for the District that includes Santa Monica.

If the Council succeeds in making an appointment, it would be the third time it does so in less than two and a half years.

Former Councilmember Ana Jara was appointed on January 22, 2019 to replace Tony Vazquez after he was elected to the State Board of Equalization.

And on July 14, 2020, Kristin McCowan was appointed to fill the seat vacated by Greg Morena after he resigned due to a financial conflict of interest with the City.

At Wednesday's special meeting the Council will again resume its search for a new City Manager to replace Lane Dilg, who has served on an interim basis since April 2020.

Dilg has informed the Council that her last possible meeting will be June 22.

The Council met Wednesday of last week but made no final decision ("Council to Meet Again Sunday in Search for New City Manager," May 21, 2021).

At the special meeting the Council will also meet in closed session to choose an Interim City Manager to "address any timing contingencies."

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