Quirk Censured By City Council: Walks out before the 4-0 vote

The City Council voted 4-0 on Monday, April 15 to censure Council Member Dan Quirk for personal violations of the Brown Act, City Council Policies, Del Mar Municipal Code, and related misconduct.


Quirk is thought to be the first Council Member in Del Mar history to have been censured by the Council. Monday’s censure was Quirk’s second, following a narrower December 2023 censure relating to public communications without a disclaimer that would make it clear he was representing his own position, but not that of the City.


Quirk Calls Investigation “100% Illegitimate.” At Monday’s meeting, Irma Rodríguez Moisa, the Special Counsel hired by the City to advise on the investigation, presented key findings from the extensive report prepared by independent investigator Betty P. Kelepecz. Quirk asked questions afterwards for approximately 10 minutes in an attempt to attack the legitimacy of the investigation. After Council questions and public comment (with two residents expressing support for the censure, and another, Quirk’s twin brother Steve, voicing opposition), Quirk then had the opportunity to comment, to be followed by comments from other Council members. Quirk called the investigation “100% illegitimate” with a “predetermined, politically motivated outcome.”


Mayor Druker: “This Is About Badgering Employees and Protecting the City from Liability” Mayor Druker then spoke, urging residents to read at least the summary of the investigative report [link below], and asserting that the censure was about Quirk “badgering City employees,…making them choose between their boss and their boss’s boss.” Noting that “the City Council gives direction and the City Manager determines what and how things should be done,” Druker stated, “It is absolutely essential that there be one person who tells the City employees what to do, and that is the City Manager.” Under the Council-Manager form of government, “the Council sets policy and the Manager runs the day-to-day,” but “you’ve been trying to run the day-to-day,” Druker stated to Quirk. He also noted, “You’ve also attempted to overrule the policy determined by the majority of the Council.” After commenting on Quirk’s alleged Brown Act violations, Druker stated, “What we are doing is protecting the City from liability, due to a breach of contract [the City Manager’s contract]…. What is most important for us: we need to protect our staff and our City Manager, to make sure she can do her job appropriately.”


A Quirk Walk-Out and a 4-0 vote: As Druker was reading the independent investigator’s assessment of the credibility of the witnesses she interviewed, Quirk walked out, and thus was absent when his other Council colleagues (Worden, Gaasterland and Martinez) made their comments. Residents can hear their comments on the video (link below). The Council then voted 4-0 to adopt the censure Resolution.


The Resolution: Misconduct Findings, Censure Plus An Attempt to Protect Employees: In addition to a censure, the resolution adopted by Council 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.” In any discussions with Quirk, they are entitled under the resolution to have a designated witness present.


The 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.

For more information:

Video of City Council meeting (using the Index to the right of the video, click on “Item 12” (just before “Adjournment” to jump to the Censure item)

Independent Investigator’s Report (note: this is a large document, and may take a few minutes to open/download).

Agenda Report and proposed resolution 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).