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City’s Use of Mayers Nave Law Firm Provokes Consternation

Dear Editor,

CC: Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley
CC: California State Attorney General Kamala Harris
CC: the State Bar of California

We have been following the recent actions in which the newly elected Mayor/Council, within days of taking office, personally removed the City Attorney, Interim City Manager, and an assistant to the ICM. This was done without specific notice as required under the Brown Act and in violation of the City of Alameda’s Charter. It provoked even more consternation when it was made known the new Council/Mayor were being advised by the law firm of Meyers Nave.

Let me explain:

Years ago, Steve Meyers was the City Attorney for San Leandro. He wrote the attached memo, which essentially recommends disbanding the San Leandro City Attorney’s Office and hiring a newly created private firm to handle the legal work for the City of San Leandro. The new firm was the Meyers firm.

Government Code Sec. 1090 et. seq. prohibits government officials from entering into a contract with their governing entity, which provides them with financial benefit.

1090. Members of the Legislature, state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members. Nor shall state, county, district, judicial district, and city officers or employees be purchasers at any sale or vendors at any purchase made by them in
their official capacity.

As used in this article, “district” means any agency of the state formed pursuant to general law or special act, for the local performance of governmental or proprietary functions within limited
boundaries.

I would like your readers to review the documents, and applicable Government Code Sections (www.leginfo.ca.gov) and determine for themselves whether or not this is an appropriate law firm with which the City should conduct business. Gov. Code. Sec. 1090, had no statute of limitations, and provided for treble damages.

Also, take a look also at Government Code Sec. 1098 and ask if this statute shouldn’t be changed to make it a crime for a city official to disclose confidential information for free.

Gov. Code Sec. 1098 (a) Any current public officer or employee who willfully and knowingly discloses for pecuniary gain, to any other person, confidential information acquired by him or her in the course of his or her official duties, or uses any such information for the purpose of pecuniary gain, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(b) As used in this section:
(1) “Confidential information” means information to which all of the following apply:
(A) At the time of the use or disclosure of the information, the information is not a public record subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act.
(B) At the time of the use or disclosure of the information, the disclosure is prohibited by (i) a statute, regulation, or rule which applies to the agency in which the officer or employee serves; (ii) the statement of incompatible activities adopted pursuant to Section 19990 by the agency in which the officer or employee serves; or (iii) a provision in a document similar to a statement of incompatible activities if the agency in which the officer or employee serves is a local agency.
(C) The use or disclosure of the information will have, or could reasonably be expected to have, a material financial effect on any investment or interest in real property which the officer or employee, or any person who provides pecuniary gain to the officer or employee in return for the information, has at the time of the use or disclosure of the information or acquires within 90 days following the use or disclosure of the information.

As an attorney, I am greatly dismayed by the actions of our newly elected Yale law school educated attorney Councilmember Bonta and Boalt Law School Gradute “former” attorney Mayor Gilmore. It would be even more distressing to confirm that they have chosen to hire, pay and rely on the firm of Meyers Nave in view of the above memo written by Steven Meyers.

Yours truly,

Barbara Thomas
former Vice-Mayor and Councilmember

San Leandro 043085

5 comments to City’s Use of Mayers Nave Law Firm Provokes Consternation

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  • dlm

    I’m now reading on the blogs that the Council voted -during- the 12/28/10 meeting to bring in Meyers, Nave as outside counsel. I have also read that a Meyers, Nave attorney was present at the 12/28 meeting, so I’m wondering how this guy got there. (Was he standing by with a helicopter or something?)

    I’m also reading in the 12/28 minutes below that the “City Attorney” addressed the Council before they went into closed session, which evidently wasn’t recorded. (The closed session itself is not normally recorded in any fashion.)

    So it’s not clear: when did the Council decide to bring in outside counsel, was this (somehow) planned in advance? A decision like this is not confidential and we need some clarification.

    MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING. DECEMBER 28 2010 (following minutes of the 12/21/10 meeting – scroll to the end):

    http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/getdoc.cfm?id=3503

  • Ellie

    This firm was present at the last City COuncil meeting, and said Marie Gilmore called them in mid December. How can a sincle councilmember hire an outside law firm?

  • Ms Gilmore must have ESP… She hired them before she took office as Mayor, before Theresa Highsmith accepted employment in Barstow, before anyone knew there was any issue with the ICM’s employment. Before she retained them, their only connection to Alameda was that one of their staff contributed generously to both Tam and Bonta.

  • Barb

    City councilmembers even Mayor elect-Councilmembers cannot hire outside counsel. Or give them directions. It would require at least 3 councilmembers and a Resolution enacted at a Council meeting. These SUNCAL puppets get worse everyday.

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