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How Does Westlake Village Choose Its Mayor?

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One of the more common questions right now is about the upcoming mayoral selection in Westlake Village, and how some of the roles work in the city. The mayor position will be voted on at the next city council meeting, Dec 6th.

The city council has 5 members. It's specifically an odd number so that when there's a full council vote, there's a tie breaker.

Of those 5 members, one member is the Mayor Pro Tem. This is currently Jim Bruno. Another member, is the Mayor. This is currently Sue McSweeney. The role of the mayor is mostly symbolic, but it's definitely an honor. Mayor Pro Tem stands in for the mayor when he/she is not available.

The Mayor and the Mayor Pro Tem positions are selected by the city council. Each is a separate vote that requires a simple majority. It's a bit unclear as to what happens if a majority is not obtained, but the most likely outcome is that those in the current roles would continue beyond their normal one-year terms until the city council reached a majority decision.

Most of the time, the council follows a variety of conventions as to who gets selected as Pro Tem and Mayor. For example, typically, the pro-tem becomes the next mayor, but that has not always been the case (e.g., Jim Henderson was pro-tem, but never mayor as he wasn't re-elected). As another example, the conventions for selection ordering are loosely based on number of votes at general election time. (This presents a challenge in the future as Bob Slavin, Mark Rutherford, and Sue McSweeney ran unopposed last time, so there is no vote count to base the convention. As a result, the conventions of the past will have to be updated over the next few years.)

In the end, the conventions are just a set of guidelines ... the vote is the real process, and the council members are able to vote in any way they want, including for themselves.

Want to express an opinion, or give input?

Westlake Village residents are encouraged to come and see -- and even participate -- in the city council meetings. The next meeting, where the mayoral selection process will take place, is Wed Dec 6 at 6:30pm. This is a "special" meeting simply because it's at a different time of the month due to the holidays. If you want to speak on any topic (whether it's on the agenda or otherwise), you can pick up a speaker's card at the door, fill it out, and give it to the City Clerk. You may speak for up to 3 minutes, and would do so from the podium between the audience seats and the council.