Huntington Beach Council Members Look to Censure Colleague

A city councilman in Huntington Beach is facing possible censure for bringing up allegations against city officials contained in a memo he received toward the end of a city council meeting last month.

Mayor Barbara Delgleize, Councilwoman Lyn Semeta and Councilman Erik Peterson have requested a resolution for censure against Councilman Billy O’Connell. They claim he violated the state’s open meetings law when he raised the allegations he had received from a member of the police department.

The council members said they receive allegations like those contained in the memo “all the time,” but they aren’t made public until a review is conducted. More importantly, the memo in question was not on the agenda, but was brought up by O’Connell spontaneously in an “attempt to call into question the integrity and character of the city manager’s office, city attorney’s office and the Police Department,” the three stated in a report.

“These offensive statements were likely illegal and may jeopardize the integrity of the investigation that may occur,” they added. That’s because “raising an issue for comment or discussion of substance or councilwide concern without properly agendizing the issue in advance is a Brown Act violation.”

O’Connell’s cryptic comments came during a portion of the meeting usually reserved for discussions about upcoming events or expressions of appreciation. While he did not go into detail, he said the allegations he’d received could compromise the city manager’s office, the city attorney’s office, and the police.


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