SANTA MONICA—During the Santa Monica City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 23, Councilmember Greg Morena’s seat was officially declared as vacant in response to the letter of resignation he submitted on June 17. The City Council unanimously voted to start accepting applications from community members interested in the position.

Morena resigned his position in order to focus on his business, as the coronavirus pandemic presented new challenges to his restaurant on the Pier. “Unless I am able to renegotiate my lease for July and onward, I will no longer be able to remain in business,” said Morena.

Applications for the City Council position opened at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24 at and will be due by 12 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7. No late submissions will be considered for the role.

In order to qualify, applicants must be residents and registered voters of the city of Santa Monica and cannot be employed by the city. The latter is enforced in order to avoid a conflict of interest.

Once the deadline has passed, applications will be reviewed by the City Council during the July 14 meeting. The person selected will assume control of the vacant seat once the City Council confirms the appointment. The selected person will remain on City Council until the next general municipal election, currently planned for November 3.

In the case of  Pico Neighborhood Association, et al. v. City of Santa Monica, the city appealed a judgement that would require Santa Monica to transition from an at-large election system to a district-based system where members of the Council would be elected based off of their particular neighborhoods. This lawsuit doesn’t affect the appointment of a new Councilmember, but it may require the next general election to be held before November 3.