The Irvine City Council is holding a special council meeting to deal with short-term vacancy in the Mayor Pro Tem position, precipitated by Councilwoman Lynn Schott’s abrupt and oddly handled resignation from the post.
Schott signed a letter of dated November 22, 2016, in which she was resigning as Mayor Pro Tem. However, she officiated in that capacity at the council meeting that evening, where outgoing Mayor Steven Choi was honored.
However, it appears she didn’t tell anyone, and didn’t submit the letter to the city until this morning.
The issue is this: Mayor Choi will be sworn in on December 5 as the new Assemblyman from the 68th District, and Assemblyman Don Wagner won’t be sworn in until December 13. The upshot is Irvine will have neither a Mayor nor a Mayor Pro Tem between December 5 and December 13 due to Schott’s precipitate action.
Hence tomorrow’s special council meeting and confused-sounding agenda item:
CONFIRM RESIGNATION FROM APPOINTED POSITION OF MAYOR PRO TEMPORE BY CITY COUNCIL MEMBER LYNN SCHOTT; RESCIND PRIOR APPOINTMENT OF CITY COUNCIL MEMBER LYNN SCHOTT AS MAYOR PRO TEMPORE; DESIGNATE COUNCIL MEMBER(S) TO ACT ON CITY’S BEHALF DURING THE PERIOD OF MAYORAL VACANCY BETWEEN DECEMBER 4, 2016 AND DECEMBER 13, 2016
In other words, the city council must convene to undo its earlier appointment of Schott as Mayor Pro Tem and designate either Shea, Beth Krom or Jeff Lalloway as de facto mayor for little more than a week.
Newly re-elected Irvine Councilwoman Christina Shea took to Facebook to express her unhappiness with Schott’s mishandling of her resignation:
Shea’s impatience is understandable, and her questions reasonable. The public will no doubt gain an explanation tomorrow night from Councilwoman Schott as to her unwillingness to serve as Mayor Pro Tem for three more weeks, and probably see some council fireworks, as well.
UPDATE – November 29 – As it happens, the situation isn’t as strange as it seems on the surface.
The Irvine municipal code states that in the event of a mayoral vacancy – keep in mind Irvine has a directly-elected mayor – the mayor pro tem will be sworn in as mayor and serve the remainder of the term.
Since the mayor pro tem is a rotational office filled by a councilmember, that person would have to resign from the city council in order to become mayor.
In this case, the remainder of Mayor Steven Choi’s term is about 10 days. If Schott had quit as mayor pro tem, then she would have had to resign from council in the middle of her four-year term in order to serve as mayor for a week and a half.
Schott did the rational and reasonable thing and tendered her resignation as mayor pro tem. Later this afternoon, the council will accept that resignation, rescind her earlier appointment to the post and – presumably – make Councilmember Beth Krom the new mayor pro tem; since she is termed out of office on December 13 anyway, there’s no obstacle to her taking a 10-day turn as mayor and establishing herself as the shortest-tenured mayor in Irvine history.