MALIBU—On Monday, July 13, the Malibu City Council will vote on a resolution to decide whether the November ballot will ask voters if they want to directly elect their mayor.

Malibu’s current system is classified as “Council-Manager,” where power is divided between the city council and a city manager. The mayor is a figurehead role that is elected on a rotating basis between councilmembers. Though the council ultimately makes decisions, the mayor presides over them. The city manager has administrative and managerial authority.

One alternative option is a directly elected mayor system. Citizens would elect the mayor, but the mayor would still serve as a council member. The other option is a strong mayor system. The mayor takes on most of the city’s duties and will have a much higher salary than councilmembers. 

If this were to happen, there would need to be a transition to a charter city from the current general city. There is not enough time to do this by November because a charter commission must be implemented to draft a charter. The process can take over two years to complete.

The resolution was adopted in January after Los Angeles attorney Milton Grimes wrote a letter stating that the current Malibu system violates the California Voting Rights Act. Other cities also received the same letter.