City Attorney: Council may enforce Section 108 of city charter in court to remove mayor

Memo: Council asked if impeachment was possible

SAN DIEGO - A memo released by the San Diego's City Attorney's Office Thursday could outline a way to remove embattled Mayor Bob Filner from office without a recall and within city charter provisions.

However, this may involve a court process and only if Filner allowed unauthorized payments from the city treasury.

According to the memo, the City Council asked the city attorney to look at the charter and determine if there is a process on how to impeach elected officers. While there is no such provision, "an officer" of the city is subject to removal under Section 108 of the charter through a court process.

The memo goes on to say, "… the Mayor is an 'officer' under the Charter and that the City Council may, behind a closed session, file a 'declatory relief action to enforce Section 108 in court.'

Charter Section 108 states:

"Every officer who shall willfully approve, allow, or pay any demand on the treasury not authorized by law, shall be liable to the City individually and on his official bond, for the amount of the demand so approved, allowed or paid, and shall forfeit such office and be forever debarred and disqualified from holding any position in the service of the City."

Filner was not specifically named in the memo, but it did clarify that the chief executive office is an "officer" of the city because the term can be applied to both appointed and elected officials.

The memo further states that framers of the "Strong Mayor" amendments to the charter did not exempt the mayor from Section 108.

Team 10 was first to reveal that federal state and local authorities are investigating the mayor for taking women to Westgate Plaza Hotel in downtown.

Team 10 also obtained some of the mayor's credit card statements detail six different transactions at the hotel for a total of $511.06. However, it's unclear what was purchased and who it was for.

Earlier this week, Filner said he was committed to moving the city forward.

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