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Can an individual be an employee and council member in the same city

Compton Council member Tana McCoy (photo: Compton Herald)

Compton Council member Tana McCoy (photo: Compton Herald)

Residents in the city of Compton are concerned about newly elected city council member Tana McCoy.  McCoy was sworn in to the seat representing the 3rd District on February 3, 2016.  Prior to her appointment, McCoy worked for the city of Compton for nearly four decades.  Most recently as an Administrative Analyst, with a salary over $67k. 

Residents share with 2 Urban Girls that Ms. McCoy recently lost her husband and son, prior to her appointment.

Perhaps the stress of losing loved ones caused Ms. McCoy to consider the part-time nature of the city council seat, rather than the stress of working ten-hour days as a regular city employee.  Perhaps the drastic reduction in salary from over $5,500/month to $600/month doesn’t phase her.

A public records request revealed Ms. McCoy’s salary, but has yet to identify the last day she worked for the city.

2 Urban Girls contacted Jane Robison, spokesperson for the LA County Dist. Atty’s office and inquired if the Election Code allows for individuals to hold both office and employment in the same city.

Robison replied, “..is this hypothetical or do you have someone in mind”?

2 Urban Girls elaborated on the residents concerns in Compton, regarding Ms. McCoy’s employment,  and that the city clerk verified her salary but not her last date of employment, to which Robison replied, “…at this point there’s nothing I can comment on”.

When 2 Urban Girls further inquired as to whether an individual can hold both employment and elected status in the city, our original question, again the District Attorney’s office had no comment.

Compton residents can recall that Tana McCoy was a key witness in the prosecution of former mayor Omar Bradley, who will face new charges, April 12th, in a downtown Los Angeles court room, stemming from allegations initially filed against him over a decade ago.

The Dist. Atty’s office did provide this update on Bradley’s cases:

In BA240392Omar Bradley is being retried on the two original charges that were overturned: two counts of theft of public funds.

In TA129869, an additional charge of Government Code 1090, conflict of interest, was filed on 2/24/2013. A preliminary hearing is underway in that case. The retrial will not begin until after the preliminary hearing is completed because we anticipate that the two cases will be combined.

Interestingly, when former Los Angeles council member Richard Alarcon had his conviction overturned, the Dist. Atty. appears poised to not retry him.  Alarcon has since announced his intention to run for office.

If one lies about living in a council district, and collects a salary under such material falsehoods of the truth, isn’t that considered theft of public money?

**updated**

The Compton city clerk’s office states that employees personnel files are confidential, and thus, they are not able to reveal the last day worked for council woman Tana McCoy.


One Response so far.

  1. KEITH says:

    It’s odd but probably not illegal. Only 2 sections of the City Charter come close to addressing it. It would be conflict of interest to be under the City Manager as a Civil Service employee AND a Council member empowered to hire and fire the City Manager. You can’t be someone’s employee and boss at the same time can you? We would have to know whether Ms. McCoy was a classified or unclassified employee. The City Charter does not address it directly but maybe the Civil Service code does. (Note: Ms. McCoy is recently appointed not elected).

    Section 602.
    Interference in Administrative Service.
    Neither the City Council nor any of its members shall order or request, directly or indirectly, the appointment of any person to an office or employment, or his removal there from, by the City Manager, or by any of the elective officers or other department heads in the administrative service of the City. Except for the purpose of inquiry, the City Council and its members shall deal with the administrative service under the City Manager solely through the City Manager, and neither the City Council nor any member shall give orders to any subordinates of the City Manager, either publicly or privately.

    Section 1109.
    Political Activities Prohibited. No person holding a position in the Classified Service shall engage in any activities supporting or opposing the election of any public officer or any state or local ballot measure either during that employee’s normal City working hours or at any City facility. Nothing in the section shall be construed to prevent any such person from being or becoming a member of a political club or organization, or from attending political meetings or engaging in political activity while at work as a City employee, or from enjoying entire freedom from all interference in casting his vote, or from seeking election or appointment to public office.

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