The Garden Grove City Council Tuesday evening voted 4-0, with councilman Phat Bui absent, to remove Planning Commissioner Vu Mai from his seat after questions were raised about whether Mai met residency requirements to serve on the commission.

Voice of OC reported in January that Mai appears to be a resident in San Clemente, where he is registered to vote and owns a home where his wife and children live. Shortly after the story was published, he registered to vote in Garden Grove.

Mai says he used to live in San Clemente full-time, but travels often because he is a U.S. Army reserve officer. He said he stays at the condominium with his aunt and uncle. He also owns another Garden Grove home, which he uses for rental income.

In addition to living in Garden Grove, Planning Commissioners must also be registered to vote in the city.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, council members emphasized that their decision was not a judgment on Mai’s character.

“We’re not questioning the person’s credibly or competence or integrity, we’re just questioning his residency,” said Councilman Kris Beard.

Councilman Steve Jones added commissioners should be strongly committed to the city and live there full-time.

“I do like the thought of sending a strong message that our commissioners shouldn’t be kinda-sorta living in the city, but one hundred percent engaged in the city,” said Jones. “If you’re going to step up for an appointed position you should really, really live here.”

Council members also voted 4-0 to require that all commissioners be registered voters

Contact Thy Vo at or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

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