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Palm Springs Human Rights Commission avoids ‘hiatus’ vote after controversy over public meeting claims

Update 11:30 PM:

The Palm Springs Human Rights Commission will be able to continue to meet, however, only to discuss "the scope, processes, and goals of the commission, the Palm Springs City Council voted on Thursday.

The city council also voted to temporarily freeze membership into the HRC. There was no word on how long the membership freeze will last.

Original Report:

The Palm Springs City Council will vote on a resolution at Thursday night's meeting that proposes placing a "temporary hiatus on the activities and meetings" of the City's Human Rights Commission.

The proposal follows a discussion had by Council during their May 23 meeting, during which the request was initially made by Councilmember Christy Holstege, to take such action due to "recently expressed concerns about the lack of clarity surrounding the HRC Commission's role and responsibility," according to a staff report written by City Attorney Jeffrey Ballinger.

Controversy has recently surrounded the HRC, which is the same body that has been involved in discussions related to Section 14 and the removal of a statue of former Palm Springs Mayor Frank Bogert.

“I remain extremely concerned that we have commissioners who potentially have violated the Brown Act and also might just need some help from staff about their role, their scope, their jurisdiction and the work to do,” state Holstege at the Council's May 23 meeting.

The Brown Act is a law that was enacted in order to ensure that meetings held by local legislative bodies, like city councils, are disclosed and open to the public.

Nowhere in the staff report for Thursday's meeting is it specifically stated what complaints and by whom triggered the request for a hiatus to the HRC.

News Channel 3 has reached out to the City for comment on the matter ahead of tonight's meeting, but have yet to get a response.

The Palm Springs City Council will also be considering a resolution at Thursday night's meeting to adopt a Code of Conduct "applicable to Commissions."

Watch News Channel 3 at 5:00 p.m. tonight for the full report.

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Jennifer Franco

Jennifer Franco is the weekend anchor/weekday reporter for KESQ News Channel 3


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