Huntington Beach

Are charter changes coming?

MICHAEL GATES, Huntington Beach City Attorney (OC Tribune photo).

Huntington Beach is the only city in Orange County that has an elected city attorney, city clerk and city treasurer.  Should that change?

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 6-1 (with Council Erik Peterson dissenting) to form an ad hoc committee of the council to review work made by the city Charter Review Commission and recommend to the full council which and whether revisions of the charter should be put before voters on a future ballot measure.

At issue especially for some residents who commented to the charter commission and the city council is the status of the position of city attorney, now held by Michael Gates.

There’s been friction between the council majority and Gates, and in December 2021 a proposal was made to hire a separate attorney or legal firm that would “directly report to and support the city council.”

A compromise was made at the time by which Gates could hire an outside attorney to provide the council with a “second opinion” when desired.

Also Tuesday night, the council voted 7-0 to approve a motion to direct city staff to identify “operational enhancements” to the city’s Coyote Management Plan and make a report within 30 days.

On April 29 a young girl was attacked by a coyote on the beach near the pier and suffered injuries. She survived, and police shot the canine.

The next meeting of the city council is scheduled for Tuesday, June 7.



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