Councilwoman Questions Revolving Doors in Mission Viejo

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Mission Viejo Councilwoman Cathy Schlicht is pushing for a law that would bar former elected officials, commissioners and other high-level city employees from doing business with the city for at least a year after leaving the city’s employ.

Schlicht’s so-called “revolving door” law, which she proposed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, would be similar to those on the books in other cities and at the state and federal levels.

In fact, City Attorney William Curley says a city administrative regulation and state laws already in place probably offer the protections Schlicht is looking for.

“You can’t come back to your agency and use your knowledge and insider information,” Curley said. “Between the two [city administrative regulation and state law] they capture probably everybody.”

Schlicht’s ordinance would be modeled after a similar law in San Jose, according to an agenda report.

But San Jose’s situation is different from Mission Viejo’s, Curley said, because as a charter law city, San Jose “would arguably be immune” from extending state law to offer the anti-abuse protection.

Rather than having Curley draft an ordinance, as Schlicht wanted, the rest of City Council last night decided to have Curley look into any gaps in current protections and report to the council.

Schlicht said she was inspired to bring up the issue after she saw a $342 check to Kwik Kopy in the city’s quarterly check register. Kwik Kopy is owned by Councilman Dave Leckness.

Schlicht said she found the check in the 2009-10 third quarter check register, approved on May 17, 2010, which Voice of OC confirmed. However, a city official said the two checks that made up the summary were issued in 2009, well before Leckness was elected to the City Council.

Mayor Trish Kelley voiced concern about not being able to use former city officials as consultants. Kelley said doing so could offer an advantage to the city and sav the city money by not using full-time consultants who don’t have experience working in Mission Viejo.


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