Tuesday, September 1 , 2015, 7:32 am | Overcast 67.0º




Familiar Faces Take Center Stage as Santa Barbara Swears In New Council Tuesday

Mayor Helene Schneider and Councilmen Frank Hotchkiss and Bendy White to be joined by 'newcomer' Gregg Hart

Santa Barbara City Councilman-elect Gregg Hart gets a congratulatory hug from Councilwoman Cathy Murillo after winning an open seat in the Nov. 5 election.

Santa Barbara City Councilman-elect Gregg Hart gets a congratulatory hug from Councilwoman Cathy Murillo after winning an open seat in the Nov. 5 election.  (Lara Cooper / Noozhawk file photo)

By Giana Magnoli, Noozhawk Staff Writer | @magnoli |

Santa Barbara’s newest councilman will be very busy come Tuesday.

Gregg Hart will be sworn in Tuesday along with Mayor Helene Schneider and Councilmen Frank Hotchkiss and Bendy White, who all were re-elected to second terms.

Hart, who served two terms on the City Council a decade ago, works for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments as its public information officer and government affairs coordinator. He told Noozhawk he plans to keep his full-time job.

“I’ve got it all planned,” he said. “I think it’ll work out OK.”

Hart is one of 20 staff members at SBCAG, whose board members include the five Santa Barbara County supervisors and mayors from all eight cities in the county.

City Administrator Jim Armstrong told Noozhawk that some people have been concerned about a conflict of interest, but the city has left it to Hart to determine any potential problems with the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

“I typically don’t initiate things like that,” he said. “It’s up to them to do their own research.

“I know people have raised the question, but it’s really up to Gregg to consult with the City Attorney’s Office, and I know he talked to City Attorney Steve Wiley before (Wiley) left.”

When taking office, every elected official must submit forms to the FPPC that publicly disclose their economic interests.

Hart’s SBCAG compensation is not a result of any City Council decision, Armstrong noted.

“It’s not a black-and-white issue because he works in another government agency,” he said.

Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 2 p.m. and will have a swearing-in ceremony followed by a short recess for celebratory coffee and punch. The meeting will be brief, with a water supply management report as the main item.

Outgoing Councilman Grant House will make some brief remarks before turning over the seat to Hart. House served two consecutive terms on the council and was barred by term limits from seeking re-election.

Schneider was re-elected with 73.32 percent of the vote in the Nov. 5 election. White was the top vote-getter among the 10 council candidates with 18.24 percent, Hart won 16.8 percent and Hotchkiss got 13.49 percent.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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