City Council to Consider Censure of Council Member Quirk: Independent Investigator Sustained 9 Misconduct Allegations

On Monday, April 15, the City Council will consider a Resolution censuring Council Member Dan Quirk, based on the findings of an independent investigator hired by the City last year to investigate nine specific allegations of misconduct by Quirk, including violations of the Brown Act, the Del Mar Municipal Code, City Council Policies and Guiding Principles. and the City Manager’s Employment Agreement.


This proposed censure covers a much wider range of alleged misconduct than the Council’s December 2023 censure of Quirk, relating to communications without a disclaimer that would make it clear Quirk was representing his own position, but not that of the City.


Proposed Action: In addition to a censure, the proposed resolution on Monday’s agenda directs Quirk “not to engage in one-on-one discussions” with the City Manager or the City Attorney; he would remain “entitled to engage” with them “during open and closed council sessions.”


Examples of the findings of misconduct: The proposed Resolution includes detailed findings of misconduct, based on the investigator’s report, including:


  • disclosing confidential information and discussions from a closed council session to one or more members of the public on several occasions, in violation of the Brown Act and City Council Policy 314;
  • violating the terms of the City Manager’s Employment Agreement by giving direction to subordinates of the City Manager and interfering with her duty to execute policy set by the Council and with daily operations of the City;
  • coercing or otherwise pressuring the City Manager, City staff, and outside consultants on how to complete their work;
  • causing the City Manager, and the prior City Manager Christa Johnson, to incur City funds and resources beyond authorized expenditure limits.

The Sandpiper previously reported on $31,880 in additional compensation the City paid to former City Manager Christa Johnson beyond what was provided for in her employment agreement, after her attorney asserted that there were “facts suggesting members of the City Council are in substantial breach” of provisions in her employment agreement prohibiting council members from interfering with the execution of the powers and duties of the Manager. Johnson was terminated in February 2021, shortly after newly-elected Council members, including Quirk, took office.


For more information: The full Agenda Report, proposed resolution, and related attachments are available in the Council packet posted on the City’s website on April 11 (click on Item 12 on the Table of Contents to jump to the relevant materials).