The position of Mayor in City of Malibu is to be rotated “among all” councilmembers. This system is also called the weak-Mayor system because the Mayor has no more authority than any other member of the City Council; however, the Mayor holds the gavel and runs the City Council meetings to insure they are orderly and efficient.
Charles Adrian and Charles Press explain, "The weak-mayor plan is a product of Jacksonian democracy. It comes from the belief that if politicians have few powers and many checks, then they can do relatively little damage." (Wikipedia) The Mayor Pro Tem is the “next in line” to serve as Mayor and will fill in for the Mayor in his/her absence.
The City Manager is hired by a majority of the City Council to run the day-to-day operations of the City and the City Manager is instilled with the power to hire and fire all City personnel.
In a strong Mayor-Council system of Government the Mayor elected directly by the people and has additional duties and powers (for example they can hire and fire staff and prepare the budget).
Since the City of Malibu was formed in March 1990 over 21 years ago, there have been 10 men and 5 women who have served as Mayor for various periods of time. Traditionally, the order of the rotation of Mayor is determined by who has the most votes. In 2008, the City of Malibu voted to reduce the length of the Mayor’s term from 1 year to 9.6 months to insure that every elected Councilmember had the opportunity to serve as Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.
Mayor Rosenthal became the Mayor November 2011 because she was the highest vote getter in 2008. The next top vote getter, Lou La Monte became Mayor Pro Tem.
It tradition is followed, on Monday August 27, 2012, Lou La Monte will be tapped for Mayor and the top vote getter in the April 2012 election, Skylar Peak, will become Mayor Pro Tem for the next 9.6 months.
Will the current City Councilmembers honor the will of the voters and select Skylar Peak to serve as its Mayor Pro Tem on Monday?
If Laura and Lou vote against this tradition on Monday, then they may be held accountable at the polls in April 2014. Neither John Sibert nor Joan House are eligible for reelection due to term limits, so they do not have to fear being held accountable in an election.
If the people of Malibu do not agree with the outcome of Monday night, then another option exists. The people of Malibu could vote to change to a strong-mayor form of government to insure that the Mayor is elected directly by the people, for the people and not by Councilmembers who may or may not be accountable to the people.