San Diego City Council chambers. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Updated at 5:05 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 3

The four Republican members of the San Diego City Council on Thursday called for the council’s president to be appointed based on seniority rather than a vote.

Councilmembers Scott Sherman, Lorie Zapf, Mark Kersey and Chris Cate said a rotating appointment based on seniority “would help curb influence from outside special interests” and reduce “divisive partisan politics.”

“Over the past two years and most especially the past month, the current selection process has resulted in a divided and bitter council,” the four said in a statement. “Other consequences have included allegations of Brown Act violations, horse-trading, and politicization of a largely administrative position.”

Although San Diego races are non-partisan, the council has four Republican and five Democratic members.

Myrtle Cole, a Democrat, is currently serving her second year as president. The president presides at council meetings and determines the agenda.

“As can be seen from the last council president election, the current process is in desperate need of reform. This proposal will help create a process which assures a non-partisan outcome,” said Sherman, who voted against Cole’s re-election in December.

After she was reelected, Cole rearranged council leadership — removing three Republicans from key posts and replacing them with Democrats.

A spokeswoman for Cole said the new proposal will be placed on a meeting agenda within the next 30 days.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.