WEST HOLLYWOOD—On Tuesday, February 21, the West Hollywood City Council discussed the possibility of establishing term limits for appointed officials and the possibility of enforcing background checks for appointed officials.

They will adopt revised bylaws for the City’s Commissions and Advisory Boards and will require residency and proof of residency for all City Commissions. The city received public backlash over former Public Safety Commissioner Nika Soon-Shiong, whose WeHo residency was never confirmed.

Manny Rodriguez, who is a resident of West Hollywood wrote to council, “I do agree that commission members should be required to reside full time in the City of West Hollywood. The last two years we’ve seen too many outsiders with too much influence negatively impacting our community.”

During the October 18, 2021, WeHo City Council meeting, they approved term limits for appointed officials. Appointed officials are now limited to four two-year terms prospectively. Councilmember John Heilman specifically stated that he does not approve of term limits, while Councilmember Chelsea Lee Byers stated that term limits are needed to maintain democracy. 

The purpose of a background check which would include a Live Scan is to encourage greater public participation and transparency, while establishing protocols to ensure the WeHo City Council continues to appoint individuals that are well-qualified, and representative of the city’s core values. The item further indicated that at a minimum, an applicant would be disqualified if they have been convicted of a Part 1 crime. Part 1 crimes include murder, manslaughter, sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Additionally, a crime would only be disqualifying if the conviction occurred within the last 10 years. The background check is not intended to disqualify people who have minor infractions or who were arrested without being found guilty of a crime. 

City Manager Mellissa Crowder stated that doing a backcheck on each possible commission member could be cumbersome. 

Other recommendations under this agenda item included parental leave as part of the ordinance codifying the other changes to the City’s Commission and a resolution to include parental leave for the City’s Advisory Boards, changes to the bylaws of the city’s commissions and advisory boards, among others. 

These changes were recommended by the City Clerk, City Manager, and the Director of Administrative Services, who reviewed the purview of the City’s Commissions and made recommendations to the City Council subcommittee composed of Mayor Pro Tempore Erickson and Councilmember Meister. 

Staff will return with an ordinance at the March 6, 2023 City Council meeting to codify the changes. They voted 5 to 0 on the motion.