VERNON (CBS) — The mayor and city attorney of Vernon both abruptly resigned Monday after public criticism from a state senator, as well as the city’s own ethics advisor.
Mayor Hilario “Larry” Gonzales recently came under fire for circumventing the usual rules in pushing through the permanent appointment of Interim City Attorney Michael Montgomery.
Gonzales has sat on the Vernon City Council for 37-years. The council two weeks ago pushed through the hiring of Montgomery without first announcing the item in a meeting agenda.
California State Senator Kevin de León called the council action “egregious” and suggested that it created the appearance of self-dealing.
Former California Attorney General John Van de Kamp, now Vernon’s ethics adviser, also criticized the action and called on the council to reverse it.
In his resignation letter, Gonzales stated the move would become effective only after he receives confirmation of his pension from The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS).
Montgomery, whose position was set to become permanent, announced that he will continue on as attorney for Vernon’s Redevelopment Agency and the Light and Power Department.