Morro Bay commissioner under fire
April 12, 2011
The council’s vote to change the meetings from Mondays to Wednesdays created a conflict for Diodati who coaches his son’s little league team on Wednesdays.
Diodati said the children, who he has coached for two years, come first.
ORIGINAL: By JACK MCCURDY
John Diodati, who chaired the Morro Bay City Planning Commission when it unanimously voted against the city’s proposed wastewater treatment plant project in December, is being targeted for removal from the Commission by Carla Borchard, a member of the Morro Bay City Council, which is scheduled to vote on her proposed firing of Diodati tonight (Tuesday).
She is seeking to remove him for missing Commission meetings in order to meet his commitments to coach Little League, which were made prior to the Council changing the days of the Commission meetings from Mondays to Wednesday last February without consulting members of the Commission. She claims he violated city rules on attendance at meetings of city advisory bodies. But he says she is wrong.
Borchard’s move against Diodati comes in the wake of mayor Bill Yates’s effort last January to fire that entire, same Commission, which Diodati chaired. Yates’s move failed when opposition from other Council members at the Council meeting, including Borchard, showed he did not have enough votes to approve his motion to fire the Commission. He then withdrew the motion.
The California Coastal Commission rejected the city’s wastewater treatment project for many of the same reasons that the Planning Commission did.
In her resolution on the Council’s agenda Borchard states that the Commission’s bylaws say the “absence of four meetings in a consecutive 12-month period will constitute resignation of the absent member.” Therefore, the Council should either require Diodati to “meet the attendance requirement or declare the position vacant.”
However, Diodati says the Commission does not have bylaws but is governed by the city’s Municipal Code, which allows any member of the Commission to miss Commission meetings if that member obtains advance approval of fellow Commissioners, which he said he did on March 16. They approved his planned absences unanimously, he said.
City attorney Rob Schultz reportedly concurred that the Commission does not have bylaws, in which case, Diodati says, the Municipal Code governs absences of Commission members. Schultz apparently did not approve the resolution since the box on the resolution reserved for his initials is empty. It is not known whether he reviewed it.
Diodati said he requested permission from his fellow Commissioners to miss five meetings, although he said it would most likely be fewer, and his plan now is to miss four meetings.
The Council meeting starts at 6 tonight and can be viewed at http://www.slo-span.org/mbchannel20.php.