Moreno Valley City Council Forced to Rescind Appointment of LaDonna Jempson
The Moreno Valley City Council has voted to rescind the controversial appointment of Council Member LaDonna Jempson. The vote took place during a special meeting Thursday, Nov. 18. It was 4-0 with Jempson abstaining.
As City News reported, the council was advised by Interim City Attorney Steve Quintanilla not to appoint Jempson to the District 1 seat on Oct. 19. The appointment was not on the council’s agenda and “would probably be a Brown Act violation,” Quintanilla cautioned. The dais moved forward with the appointment anyway.
It didn’t take long before the threats and lawsuits arrived. One of the warnings came from the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. It instructed the council to rescind the appointment within 30 days or face legal action. The DA said the appointment clearly violated the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open meetings law.
Among those who voted to rescind the appointment was Moreno Valley’s other newest council member, Ed Delgado, who was sworn in just before the discussion. Jempson’s removal was the first vote Delgado ever cast as a member of the dais. He said he was “extremely embarrassed” by the entire affair.
Council Member David Márquez wasn’t nearly as bothered.
“So what if there was a Brown Act violation,” he said, as quoted by the Press-Enterprise. He added that “a lot of criminal acts” have been committed by his colleagues over the years.
Incredibly, a closed session was held to discuss possible discipline or dismissal of Quintanilla. The council realized it would look bad to fire the interim city attorney who correctly warned them not to appoint Jempson, Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez said. No action was taken.