PALMDALE — The City Council finalized changes to the city’s Municipal Code, reducing the requirement for removing a city manager to a simple majority from a four-fifths vote, but keeping the supermajority requirement until the end of City Manager J.J. Murphy’s contract in 2024.
The vote during the Council meeting, on Wednesday, was unanimous, after discussions at two previous meetings and closed sessions. The unanimous decision finalized the wording to include specifics on the exemption to Murphy.
Councilmember Richard Loa requested a clarification be written into the ordinance, stipulating the end date for the supermajority provision of Dec, 30, 2024, specifying the current end to Murphy’s contract.
The Council also separately unanimously approved the corresponding changes to Murphy’s contract.
In March, the Council revised the municipal code to require a fourth-fifths supermajority to remove the City Manager.
That revision was passed on a 3-2 vote, with Loa and Councilmember Austin Bishop dissenting.
At previous meetings to discuss returning to the simple majority requirement, Loa stressed he felt requiring only a majority to remove the city manager helped keep the balance of power between the Council and staff, and stressed that it had nothing to do with Murphy personally.
At the Sept. 7 meeting when the issue was first made public, Councilmember Juan Carrillo said he had requested the discussion, not with any intention of removing Murphy, but because he felt the matter needed to be revisited.
“It’s just a clean-up of the ordinance. It’s something I thought the Council should discuss one more time,” he said at the time, referencing the fact that there is a portion of the community who feel too much was given to Murphy.