BALDWIN PARK — Two city councilmen will apparently run the city until a special election is held in July to replace two other councilmen who were recalled March 31.
Councilmen Bobbie W. Izell and Richard Gibson had asked Assemblywoman Sally Tanner (D-El Monte) to seek legislation that would have allowed Mayor Jack B. White and Councilman Leo W. King to stay on the council until a special election could be held in July to replace them.
But the state legislative counsel last week advised Tanner that such legislation would be unconstitutional because the term of office of an elected official cannot be extended by an urgency statute.
Thursday Tanner introduced an amendment to a bill that would give Izell and Gibson the authority to vote on resolutions, ordinances and payment of bills.
Izell said that between now and July, the council will steer away from action that is controversial or may result in a tie. "We're only going to get involved in what needs to be taken care of in the next 90 days," he said, adding that the council will spend much of its time on budget discussions and employee contracts.
City Council operations became tangled when an attempt to recall the late Councilman Robert H. McNeill ended in a tie vote.
Under state law, McNeill's name had to appear on the ballot despite his death in December because it was on the recall petitions that forced the election.
Had all three been recalled, White and King would have been allowed to remain in office until July 14, when a special election will be held to choose their successors. But McNeill's victory--which in the law's eyes leaves a majority of three on the council despite his death--requires that White and King step down when the results of the election are made final Wednesday.
At the earliest, the Legislature could consider Tanner's amendment when it reconvenes April 20 after a weeklong Easter break. Assuming that no problems arise, an aide to Tanner said the bill could be approved by the Legislature and be awaiting Gov. George Deukmejian's signature by the end of that week.
Although Izell was optimistic, King said he fears for the city's future.
"It doesn't make sense," King said, adding that he and White should have been allowed to stay on the council.
"You can't run a city with two people," King said. He said that such issues as redevelopment often require approval by three councilmen. The council also acts as the Redevelopment Agency.
Gibson was unavailable for comment.
Aides to Tanner concede that the legislation would not include some needed powers.
"The bill does not speak to the question of how the Redevelopment Agency would operate," said Arnold W. Peters, a Tanner aide. "The bill would serve to keep the city functioning, but they (Izell and Gibson) would be talking to the assemblywoman (at a later date) about the Redevelopment Agency's work."
City Atty. Robert Flandrick said the city might ask Tanner's office to consider a bill that would define what redevelopment matters could be handled by Izell and Gibson.
Should the Legislature reject the amendment, Flandrick said, Izell and Gibson could still handle some city business.