The Number One Issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011
September 19, 2011 2 Comments
The City of San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office is currently responsible for maintaining and updating the Municipal Code. While, as I discussed before, the online municipal code is not authoritative, and should not be relied on, good government dictates that cities maintain a fairly up-to-date online municipal code. Yet, as of the date of this post, the online City of San Bernardino Municipal Code was last revised on November 2, 2009. This may not be the number one issue in the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Election in November 2011 for the candidates, but it should be.
My recent dealings with the San Bernardino City Clerk’s Office, and indeed my dealings in almost five years as a Deputy City Attorney for the City of San Bernardino, have been good. When I asked for a copy of the garage sale ordinance, it was emailed to me right away. They also very promptly presented me with a copy of David L. McKenna’s campaign filings in person. I recently filed a batch of Government Claims with the City Clerk’s Office, and the staff was professional and courteous. This is contrast to other dealings with local public entities, such as found in my post, How Not To Handle Government Claims. The retiring City Clerk, Rachel Clark, was always very nice to me during the duration of my time with the City and after.
However, in this day and age, the online San Bernardino Municipal Code should be online because it takes time away from staff to have to provide updated information not available online. If the City Clerk’s Office is not open, the public should be able to find out about the current code. Lastly, even though no one should rely on an online municipal code, nor can they rely on an out-of-date municipal code. If you cannot easily find the current law, how can a resident obey the law?
If the City Clerk’s Office does not have the resources to update the code online, then it should be sent out to a private company. I am not sure when the codification came in-house, but the City Clerk’s Office handled codification during my entire tenure at the City Attorney’s Office. Looking at the online code, this was not always the case:
San Bernardino Municipal Code section 1.01.010 Adoption.
Pursuant to the provisions of Sections 50022.1 through 50022.8 and 50022.10 of the Government Code, there is adopted the “San Bernardino Municipal Code” as published by Book Publishing Company, Seattle, Washington, together with those secondary codes adopted by reference as authorized by the California State Legislature, save and except those portions of the secondary codes as are deleted or modified by the provisions of the “San Bernardino Municipal Code.” (Ord. 3981 §1, 1980.)
As far as I can tell, Book Publishing Company or BPC was acquired in 2001, so it no longer exists. Yet, the Municipal Code still lists it as the Code’s publisher, and as I discussed, it was not the Code’s publisher in 2001, and possibly even before.
In 2011, there is no excuse not to have an accurate online code with timely updates. Hopefully, the next City Clerk will immediately rectify the situation
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