Editorial – Quirk: Habitual Offender

It is truly unfortunate that our City Council had to resort again to the only disciplinary measure available, censuring Member Dan Quirk for the second time in five months. The report by an independent investigator was devastatingly precise and concluded that “Quirk’s self-centered behavior not only poses immediate legal risks but also has the potential to compromise the city’s strategic objectives and erode the public’s trust in its leadership.” Councilmember Martinez said, “If this was a major corporation, someone who committed the acts detailed in this investigation would likely immediately have been dismissed.”


Quirk repeatedly violated city policies and public meeting rules and had a pattern of misconduct toward city staff members. Quirk was found to use “coercion and pressure” to get his way and was often “disparaging” and “disrespectful”. The full report can be found here: https://bit.ly/QuirkReport


Quirk continues to be adamant that the report was biased and false. This suggests that he may continue to engage in this troublesome behavior even as he seems to be gearing up to run for re-election in November.


The Quirk episode shines a light on two recent problems we worry about, one external and one internal. Del Mar’s reputation in the region been regressing and we have less influence with regional decision makers. Many of our most pressing issues require support and teamwork with government at regional, state and federal levels, including neighboring cities.


Internally, we worry that we may be losing our ability to recruit, motivate and retain high level staff members as we have always done over the years. Similarly, we have seen a noticeable decline in citizen volunteers for our many committees that have always been so valuable in guiding our development. And most importantly, there appears to be declining interest among qualified prospects to run for City Council.

The Quirk censures were good steps. Now we need Council to start work on repairing our regional reputation and we need more citizens to step up to volunteer for committees and Council.