PRESS RELEASE: Senator De León's Statement on Yesterday’s Vernon Reform Election

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Los Angeles, CA - Senator Kevin de León commented on the city of Vernon's historic, Tuesday, November 22, 2011 election, “This is a major victory for democracy, jobs and the people of a notoriously corrupt region. The hard work and determination of the growing reform-minded majority in Vernon is finally paying dividends – protecting 55,000 jobs for the working people of Los Angeles County while also instituting needed democratic reforms.”

In a special election last night, Vernon’s residents passed additional reform Measures E through J by overwhelming majorities.  These add to a list of changes that have taken place since Senator De León required Vernon's leaders to implement extensive reform measures in place of disincorporating the city.

To date, Vernon’s electorate has passed measures that would:

-Establish Councilmember term limits;

-Require Vernon to comply with prevailing wage laws for public works projects;

-Provide protection for a stable city workforce by changing "At-Will Employment" status for all employees;

-Remove limitations on the City Council's ability to remove the City Administrator or to change his or her compensation;

-Create a Housing Commission to provide oversight for the day-to-day management, leasing, and maintenance of City-owned housing;

-Require an Independent Reform Monitor for four years to review the City's policies and recommend governance reform measures. The Independent Reform Monitor would have the power to conduct audits of all City operations and budgets, the power to review proposed service contracts, and would be required to report annually to the State legislature on the progress of the City’s reform efforts;

-Prohibit Councilmember Appointments -- Vacancies would instead require that each Councilmember seat be filled through an election;

-Prohibits Vernon City Councilmembers from increasing their compensation in excess of cost-of-living adjustments under any circumstances;

-Set up a Light and Power Funds transfer allowance to support general City services or funding needs as they may arise;

-Require competitive bidding on all projects.

In addition to the adopted charter reforms, new housing policies have been adopted and several leadership and staff changes have occurred. Mayor Hilario Gonzalez (first elected in the 1970's), City Attorney Michael Montgomery and long-time consultant Eric Fresch have all submitted resignations.

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