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LAFCO allows passage by four-vote majority

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

If all eight board members of San Diego County’s Local Agency Formation Commission are present for a vote a majority of five votes will be required. LAFCO had previously required five positive votes for any action to pass, but the May 1 LAFCO meeting modified that to allow passage with four votes if five to seven commissioners are present.

The original proposal was to allow a majority of any quorum. A compromise to allow passage with four votes if that is the majority of the members present was approved on a 7-1 vote with Jo MacKenzie of the Vista Irrigation District voting against the motion.

“It should be the majority of a quorum if we have a quorum,” said Jim Desmond, who is one of two county supervisors on the LAFCO board.

LAFCO handles jurisdictional boundary changes including incorporations, annexations, consolidations, latent powers expansions, and detachments. The LAFCO board consists of two county supervisors (currently Desmond and Joel Anderson), one City Council representative from San Diego (currently Stephen Whitburn), two city council members from the county's other 17 incorporated cities (currently Escondido mayor Dane White and Solana Beach City Council member Kristi Becker), two members from special districts (currently Barry Willis of the Alpine Fire Protection District and MacKenzie), and one public member (currently Bonsall resident Andy Vanderlaan).

There is one alternate apiece for county supervisors, City of San Diego, other cities, special districts, and public members; the alternate can vote if the regular member is absent or recuses due to a potential conflict of interest.

Desmond noted that if LAFCO had only five board members present all five would need to cast votes in favor of a motion for the action to pass. “The three that didn’t show up have more power than the five that did,” he said.

Four positive votes will be necessary to pass a motion if six or seven members are present. Under the original proposal, only three votes would have been needed if only five members were present, so a motion could have theoretically passed on a 3-2 vote and could not be reversed should an absent board member in opposition call for reconsideration.

Under Robert’s Rules of Order, only a board member who votes in favor of a motion can ask for a reconsideration. (The possibility of a 3-2 vote also creates the possibility that one of the board members in opposition would leave and deprive LAFCO of a quorum, although that would also be possible in the case of a potential 4-1 vote.)

“We have not had a problem passing stuff,” Anderson said. “I don’t know what we do have that is so critical that it can’t wait 30 days for a quorum.”

The requirement that four votes will be necessary if only five commissioners are present addressed many of the concerns.

“I think there’s good and bad,” Desmond said.


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