In the election held November 4, 2014, Councilmember Mary Casillas Salas was elected Mayor. The election of Mayor Casillas Salas created a vacancy of her previous Council seat. The parties agree on December 9, 2014, in an open session meeting the City Council deliberated on and decided the process that would be followed to fill the vacant seat. The parties further agree City Council again met in public open session meetings on December 16, 2014, January 6, 2015, and January 8, 2015, to discuss, interview and debate over the applicants for the Council seat. Finally, in a public meeting on January 13, 2015, the City Council unanimously voted to appoint Steve Miesen.

On February 23, 2015, Chris Shilling and San Diegans for Open Government (Plaintiffs) filed a complaint in the San Diego Superior Court against the City of Chula Vista. The complaint alleges that the City Council violated the Ralph M. Brown Act open meeting law when it narrowed the field of applicants through a process whereby individual City Councilmembers noted their nomination to the City Clerk outside of a public meeting. The City has denied the allegations of any violation of the Brown Act and continues to assert that the appointment process was open, transparent, and in compliance with the law.

Since February 23, 2015, the Plaintiffs and the City have been engaged in litigation concerning the Plaintiffs’ lawsuit. In an effort to best serve the citizens of Chula Vista the parties have agreed to resolve their differences and dismiss the lawsuit. The City has agreed to codify its interim appointment process used for boards and commissions and extend it also to filling vacancies on the City Council. All parts of the appointment process will occur in open session. The Plaintiffs have agreed to dismiss their entire lawsuit and the City will pay for a portion of Plaintiffs’ fees.

Neither Plaintiffs nor the City concede the validity of each other’s legal positions by entering into the agreement to dismiss the lawsuit. The City denies that it violated the Ralph M. Brown Act in any way. Plaintiffs believe the changes to the City’s appointment process are necessary to bring it into compliance with the Brown Act. However, in an effort to end the cost and expense of the litigation and to move the City forward, the parties have agreed to end the case.