The Cypress City Council censured member Frances Marquez Monday night after months of infighting on the board. The vote was 4-1 vote with Marquez herself dissenting.
The censure resolution, sponsored by Mayor Paulo Morales, accuses Marquez of failing to respond to Public Records Act requests and disclosing information from closed session. It also alleges violation of the city’s charter, code of ethics, and the Civility, Conduct and Governance policy.
“The ongoing malfeasance of Councilmember Marquez and her failure to meet the minimum professional standards of civility in her elected role betray the sacred oath of office that each one of us takes when we embark into public service,” said Mayor Morales.
The censure has now devolved into a he said, she said version of events.
Marquez says she has fulfilled all Public Records Act requests and that any delay in doing so was because of the council’s failure to train her in how to respond. Morales insists that’s not true, and that Marquez still has outstanding requests to satisfy.
Marquez also alleges she has been the victim of a hostile work environment and says she contacted human resources in January about bullying and harassment by other council members. Morales says its Marquez who has been harassing city staff and making repeated unsubstantiated claims against City Manager Peter Grant.
Councilmember Jon Peat backed Morales up on that accusation, saying “[Marquez] has been the instigator of such behavior towards each of us, our staff, the city clerk, the city attorney and the city manager.” However, a number of residents defended Marquez at the city meeting, characterizing the censure as political retribution.
At the same time the council is accusing Marquez of disclosing closed session information, the council is being sued for allegedly violating the Brown Act. That lawsuit stems from the council’s closed session votes on districting – an issue on which the council majority and Marquez found themselves at odds.
As City News reported previously, the Cypress City Council voted in March to reject a demand for district-based elections. Marquez was the lone no vote. The Public Records Act requests she is accused of violating were part of the suit.