The four City Council deputies on the City of West Hollywood’s payroll were officially dismissed yesterday following Monday night’s decision by the Council to eliminate the controversial deputy system.
Three of the deputies — Michelle Rex, deputy to Councilmember John D’Amico; Ian Owens, deputy to Councilmember John Duran, and Kiran Hashmi, acting deputy to Mayor Lindsey Horvath — are eligible to remain on the city’s payroll for 45 days in other roles and to receive severance pay under terms of the agreement executed with the city by their five-member union.
For Rex the severance pay is $14,770. Hashmi will receive $9,650, and Owens will receive $9,026. Rex’s hourly compensation was $52.70. Owens’ was $45.13 and Hashmi’s was $48.25. Those rates do not include the value of benefits such as health insurance and retirement plan funding.
Scott Schmidt, Councilmember Lauren Meister’s interim deputy and former campaign manager, had not served the six months required to be eligible for severance pay. Schmidt was paid $39.31 an hour.
City Hall staffers already have set up a system to address concerns of residents until a permanent City Council support system is established. That could take as long as six months as the city determines exactly what skills are needed and begins a recruitment process. Meanwhile, residents can reach Council offices by calling (323) 848-6460, at which point they will be directed to administrators who will direct your requests to the appropriate Council members.
The Council voted four to one Monday night to eliminate the 30-year-old deputy system and replace it with a system in which employees with specific skills would assist Council members with scheduling appointments, drafting legislation and meeting with constituents. Those staff member would report to a supervisor who would report to the City Manager. Under the previous system, deputies were selected by individual Council members who in the case of Meister and D’Amico chose their campaign managers. The system’s dysfunctions became public earlier this year in scandal dubbed “Deputygate.”