good times local news media events catalyst santa cruz california metro silicon valley news local events san jose weekly pajaronian watsonville local newspaper, news events pajaro valley california gilroy dispatch local news events garlic festival santa cruz media events local california weekly king city rustler newspaper media local events car sales buy new car media
58.9 F
Morgan Hill
English English Spanish Spanish
September 26, 2022

Search begins for a new full-time city attorney

• By Rose Meily – Staff Writer The city council gave staff the
formal authorization to start searching for a full-time city
attorney last week. At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Morgan
Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy announced it is the general consensus of
the Morgan Hill City Council to recruit a
full-time attorney to replace former City Attorney Helene
Leichter instead of outsourcing the job.
• By Rose Meily – Staff Writer

The city council gave staff the formal authorization to start searching for a full-time city attorney last week.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Morgan Hill Mayor Dennis Kennedy announced it is the general consensus of the Morgan Hill City Council to recruit a full-time attorney to replace former City Attorney Helene Leichter instead of outsourcing the job. Kennedy stressed, however, that the city should not rush into making a decision, but should take its time picking the right person for the job.

Leichter resigned April 20 in exchange for a promise not to sue the city. The reasons for Leichter’s separation from the city have remained a secret, with both parties agreeing not to disclose any information. She was involved in an embarrassing scandal in July of 2004 when she was accused of having an affair with City Manager Ed Tewes. Both have continually denied the allegation.

The council agreed to pay Leichter $233,055.80, including salary and benefits to July 1, $161,250 of which compensates for “alleged physical injury or sickness.” In an earlier separation agreement made in September 2004, the city paid Leichter $25,000 and her attorney $15,000, plus seven weeks of additional vacation, in part to compensate for her distress over the publicity and other unexplained matters.

City officials have refused to comment if the second settlement is related to the July incident. Councilmen repeatedly stress they cannot legally comment on the settlement.

Since Leichter’s departure, the city has been utilizing the services of the Jorgenson, Siegel, McClure and Flegel, LLP law firm. Leichter had actually worked for the Jorgenson firm until she was hired as the full-time city attorney in September 2000. The firm is currently providing services under contract at a cost of approximately $23,000 per month. Salary and benefits for a full-time city attorney are budgeted at a little less than $20,000 per month.

Councilman Mark Grzan said he feels “it’s important for the community as we grow that we have a city attorney here,” so when questions arise, or legal advice is needed, the city attorney is readily available to city staff.

“We’re best served that way,” he said.

City Manager Ed Tewes agreed with council members, stating in his meetings with the city’s management team, they felt a full-time city attorney would be the way to go. He also agreed the city should take its time to search for the right person.

“It’s critical to have the right person who has the experience and the ability to work well with others,” he said.

The council directed staff to begin the search process. The cost of the search for a city attorney should not exceed $20,000. The search and recruitment process should take at least 90 days.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

Please leave a comment

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

SOCIAL MEDIA

7,063FansLike
1,214FollowersFollow
2,890FollowersFollow