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Current Council Agenda and Past Meeting Information



Meeting Date: November 8, 2005

Subject/Title: Waive Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance 816 to add a new Chapter 2.37 to the City of Brentwood Municipal Code related to the role and responsibilities of the Office of the City Attorney

Prepared by: Damien Brower, City Attorney

Submitted by: Damien Brower, City Attorney/Donna Landeros, City Manager

Waive Second Reading and Adopt Ordinance 816 to add a new Chapter 2.37 to the City of Brentwood Municipal Code related to the role and responsibilities of the Office of the City Attorney

On April 27, 2004, the City Council adopted resolution No. 2004-97 which adopted Council/Administrative Policy No. 110-1. Included in Policy 110-1, was a section that listed the powers and duties of the City Attorney.

At the City Council meeting of October 25, 2005, City Council waived first reading and introduced Ordinance 816 and adopted Resolution No. 2005-260 deleting Rule No. 8 from Council Administrative Policy No. 110-1 related to the City Attorney.

Currently, the City Council appoints two City employees- the City Manager and the City Attorney. Until 2000, the City Attorney was a contract attorney and not a City employee. In 2000, the City’s first full-time City Attorney was hired. Related to the role and responsibilities of the City Attorney, prior to 2004, there existed little formal documentation.
In April 2004, the City Council adopted Administrative Policy No. 110-1. Although the primary focus of this policy was City Council meeting procedures, it did include Rule No. 8 which listed the powers and duties of the City Attorney.
An “in-house” City Attorney’s Office has been in place for over five years. With the hiring of a new City Attorney, staff felt it appropriate for policies and procedures related to the position be included in the Municipal Code, similar to what is currently provided for the City Manager. The attached Ordinance is based in large part on Brentwood Municipal Code Chapter 2.36 - City Manager (first adopted in 1982) Rule No. 8 of Council Administrative Policy No. 110-1, and materials from the recent recruitment process.
Among other things, the proposed ordinance establishes qualifications for the City Attorney; lists the powers and duties of the City Attorney; discusses relations with the City Council and staff; and provides for a method to remove the City Attorney from office.

There is no fiscal impact associated with the adoption of the ordinance.

Ordinance 816



WHEREAS, the City of Brentwood has employed the services of a City Attorney since its incorporation; and

WHEREAS, in the year 2000, the City Council employed the City’s first full-time City Attorney as a City employee; and

WHEREAS, the City Attorney and City Manager are the only employees directly hired by the City Council; and

WHEREAS, the duties of the City Attorney are currently listed in City Council Policy No. 110-1, but not in the Brentwood Municipal Code; and

WHEREAS, the City Council desires that the role and responsibilities of the City Attorney and the City Attorney’s Office be included in the Brentwood Municipal Code.

NOW, THEREFORE the City Council of the City of Brentwood does ordain as follows:

Section 1.

That the City of Brentwood Municipal Code is hereby amended to add a new Chapter 2.37- City Attorney, to read as follows:

Chapter 2.37 City Attorney
2.37.010 Created.
The office of city attorney of the city of Brentwood is created and established.

2.37.020 Appointment. The city attorney shall be appointed by the city council solely on the basis of his/her legal qualifications and ability. He/she shall be an attorney admitted to practice in the State of California and shall have been in actual practice for at least eight years preceding his/her employment. No member of the city council shall receive such appointment during the term for which he/she shall have been elected or within one year after the expiration of his/her term of office.

2.37.030 Term of office--Removal. The city council shall appoint the city attorney for an indefinite term and may remove him/her at any time by a four-fifths vote of the city council. Notwithstanding this provision, however, the city attorney shall not be removed from office during or within a period of ninety days next succeeding any general or special municipal election held in the city at which election a member or members of the city council is elected, or within a period of ninety days next succeeding the appointment of any member or members to the city council.

2.37.040 Compensation. The city attorney shall receive such compensation and benefits as the city council shall from time to time determine and fix, and the compensation shall be a proper charge against such funds of the city that the city council shall designate. The city attorney shall be reimbursed for all sums necessarily incurred or paid by him/her in the performance of his/her duties, or incurred when traveling on business pertaining to the city under direction of the city council.

2.37.050 General authority. The city council and its members shall deal with the city attorney’s office solely through the city attorney. This requires that neither the city council nor any individual member shall give any direct orders to any of the subordinates of the city attorney. However, this is not meant to impede or restrict access by any city council member to city attorney office staff for the purpose of collecting information they feel they need to do their job as an elected official.

2.37.060 Powers and duties. The city attorney shall be the legal counsel of the city government under the direction and control of the city council, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. He/she shall be responsible for the efficient administration of the legal affairs of the city that are under his/her control. In addition to his/her general powers as the legal counsel, and not as a limitation thereon, it shall be his/her duty and have the power to:

(a) Represent and advise the city council and all city officers in all matters of law pertaining to their offices.

(b) Represent and appear for the city in any or all actions or proceedings in which the city is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this municipal code and ordinances enacted by the city council, and represent and appear for any city officer or employee, or former city officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his/her employment or by reason of his/her official capacity provided the interest of the city in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected.

(c) Attend all regular meetings of the city council and give his/her advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the city council or by any of the boards or officers of the city.

(d) Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the city, endorsing his/her approval thereon in writing.

(e) Review any and all proposed ordinances or resolutions for the city and amendments thereto.

(f) Join in amicus briefs if there is no cost to the city.

(g) Surrender to his/her successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the city’s affairs.

(h) The city council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and city attorney may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter to assist the city attorney therein.

(i) Recommend to the city council for adoption, such measures and ordinances as he/she deems necessary or proper.

(j) Be responsible for all activities and services of the city attorney’s office.

(k) Appoint and remove those employees of the city attorney’s office allocated by the city council through the annual city budget as necessary and appropriate to assist the city attorney in performance of the duties and responsibilities of the office.

(l) Perform such other duties and exercise such other powers as may be delegated to him/her from time to time by the city council.

2.37.070 Council-city attorney relations. The city attorney shall take orders, directions and instructions from the city council only when sitting in a duly held meeting of the council, and no individual council member shall give any order or instruction to the city attorney. All employees of the city attorney’s office shall deal with the city council solely through the city attorney. This is not meant to restrict or limit contact and communication from city attorney staff to the city council. However, any council member may, as an individual, request pertinent information on municipal legal affairs from the city attorney. These requests will be answered promptly.

2.37.080 Department cooperation. It shall be the duty of the city manager, and all subordinates of the city manager, to assist the city attorney in administering the legal affairs of the city efficiently, economically and harmoniously so far as may be consistent with their duties as prescribed by law and ordinances of the city.

2.37.090 Board and commission meetings. The city attorney may attend any and all meetings of boards and commissions created by the city council, upon his/her own volition or upon direction of the city council. At such meetings that the city attorney attends, he/she shall be heard as to all matters upon which he/she wishes to address the members thereof, and he/she shall inform the members as to the legal status of any matter being considered by the city council. The city attorney shall cooperate to the fullest extent with the members of all boards or commissions appointed by the city council.

2.37.100 Exceptions. Nothing contained in this chapter shall prohibit inquiry or social communications between members of the city council, boards and commission, and the city attorney and city attorney office staff at any time.

2.36.110 Agreements of employment. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as a limitation on the power or authority of the city council to enter into any supplemental agreement with the city attorney delineating additional terms and conditions of employment not inconsistent with any provisions of this chapter. In the case of a conflict between an agreement of employment and this chapter, the provisions of this chapter shall prevail.

Section 2. That this ordinance shall be effective 30 days from its adoption.

THE FOREGOING ORDINANCE was introduced with the first reading waived at a regular meeting of the Brentwood City Council on the 25th day of October 2005, by the following vote:

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