Irvine Fires City Attorney, Hires Interim & Other Tidbits
Posted by Chris Emami on March 27, 2013
In what was a rather interesting meeting yesterday at Irvine City Hall the new Irvine majority City Council continues to make some changes on the administrative side of things. I am quite pleased with the direction that Irvine is heading and am impressed with the fact that the current Irvine City Council majority is trying to cut costs wherever possible.
Mayor Steven Choi, Mayor Pro-Tem Jeff Lalloway, and Councilwoman Christina Shea have already (as the OC Great Park Board) decided to eliminate a contract that was in place with Newport-based Forde & Mollrich. According to an article published in the Orange County Register:
Forde & Mollrich had been paid $100,000 a month until it was reduced to half that, or up to $600,000 a year. In the contract, the firm also was allowed to be called on for up to $300,000 worth of miscellaneous services a year, according to Lalloway’s memo.
At the recent March 21st City Council meeting the decision was made on a 3-2 vote to terminate the contract with City Attorney Rutan & Tucker. This would obviously create a vacancy that needs to be filled. This brings me to the meeting last night and at the meeting last night Irvine had a couple of interesting items on the agenda including item 2.1 which was in the agenda as follows:
2.1 APPOINTMENT OF INTERIM CITY ATTORNEY
1) Authorize the Mayor to execute the agreement attached to the staff report with the law firm, Jones & Mayer, LLP to serve as Interim City Attorney.
2) Direct the City Manager to prepare and distribute a request for proposals for city attorney services so that the Mayor and City Council may subsequently consider the resulting proposals when selecting a law firm to provide permanent city attorney services.
3) Authorize the City Manager or his designee to compensate Rutan & Tucker for work performed by the firm to complete existing work assignments and enable the transition of assignments to be performed by the successor attorney(s).
If for whatever reason you are a glutton for punishment and want to read the entire report on this item you can click here. The report is in all honesty pretty important to understand if you want to follow the issue closely.
The other item that I found interesting was expansion of the infamous iShuttle that travels throughout Irvine. This was item 5.1 on the agenda and read as follows:
5.1RECONSIDERATION OF EXPANDED iSHUTTLE SERVICES
City Council discussion and direction.
I recognize that this description is useless so I have also included the staff report on that item here as well.
The meeting was not on my radar to begin with until I read about it taking place on Facebook. After watching some highlights of the Council meeting on video this morning I was able to get to some of the highlights in order to give brief and somewhat incomplete synopsis of the actions taken last night and a couple of other observations. At the beginning of the meeting it was discussed that the interim law firm in place will be charging fees at a rate that matches that of the previous law firm with the exception of paralegal fees which will be decreased.
The actual vote on approving the new interim law firm was 4-1 which surprised since Agran voted with the majority to go this way, and as you may have guessed Krom was the lone dissenting vote on this. Jeff Lalloway made it very clear that this contract would be put out to bid, which is always good to hear in the name of transparency and open government.
For some reason which I did not catch Beth Krom left the meeting early and was not around for the end of the meeting discussion on the iShuttle expansion. After reading the staff report it was obvious that Agran was the one pushing this item. Agran initially made the motion to move the item and ironically without Krom he had nobody to second his motion. After watching this meeting it is clear that Councilman Larry Agran & Councilwoman Beth Krom do not like being in the minority, Agran did come around on item 2.1 though to appoint the interim city attorney.