§ 6.102.

CITY ATTORNEY

The City Attorney shall:

1. Represent the City and County in legal proceedings with respect to which it has an interest; provided that any elected officer, department head, board or commission may engage counsel other than the City Attorney for legal advice regarding a particular matter where the elected officers department head, board or commission has reason to believe that the City Attorney may have a prohibited financial conflict of interest under California law or a prohibited ethical conflict of interest under the California Rules of Professional Conduct with regard to the matter, subject to the following limitations and conditions.

The elected officer, department head, board or commission shall first present a written request to the City Attorney for outside counsel. The written request shall specify the particular matter for which the elected officer, department head, board or commission seeks the services of outside counsel, a description of the requested scope of services, and the potential conflict of interest that is the basis for the request. Within five working days after receiving the written request for outside counsel, the City Attorney shall respond in writing to the elected officer, department head, board or commission either consenting or not consenting to the provision of outside counsel. If the City Attorney does not consent to the provision of outside counsel, the City Attorney shall state in the written response why he or she believes that there is no conflict of interest regarding the particular matter.

If the elected officer, department head, board or commission continues to believe there are adequate grounds for outside counsel despite the City Attorney’s response that there is no conflict of interest, the elected officer, department head, board or commission may, within thirty days after receiving the City Attorney’s response, refer the issue of whether the City Attorney has a prohibited conflict of interest regarding a particular matter to a retired judge or justice of the state courts of California for resolution. If the elected officer, department head, board or commission and City Attorney cannot agree on a retired judge to hear the matter, the retired judge shall be selected at random by an alternative dispute resolution provider. If the matter is referred to a retired judge, the elected officer, department head, board or commission, subject to the budgetary and fiscal provisions of the Charter, shall be entitled to retain outside counsel to represent it solely on the issue of whether the City Attorney has a conflict of interest regarding the particular matter.

In deciding whether the City Attorney has a conflict of interest regarding a particular matter, the retired judge shall be bound by and apply the applicable substantive law and Rules of Professional Conduct as if he or she were a court of law. To the extent practicable, the retired judge shall hear the matter within 15 days after its assignment to the retired judge, and within 15 days after the hearing, shall issue a written opinion stating the basis for the decision. The retired judge, but not the City Attorney or elected officer, department head, board or commission, shall have the power to subpoena witnesses and documents in this proceeding.

The retired judge may request that the City Attorney secure written advice from the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the State Bar of California, or the California Attorney General on the question of whether the City Attorney has a conflict of interest regarding the particular matter. Upon such a request by the retired judge, the City Attorney shall secure such written advice. The retired judge may consider, but is not bound by, written advice so secured. The decision of the retired judge shall be final for the limited purpose of determining whether or not the elected officer, department head, board or commission may retain outside counsel for the particular matter.

If the retired judge decides that the City Attorney does not have a conflict of interest regarding the particular matter, the City Attorney shall continue to be the legal adviser to the elected officer, department head, board or commission for such matter. If the retired judge decides that the City Attorney has a conflict of interest regarding a particular matter, the elected officer, department head, board or commission shall be entitled to retain outside counsel for legal advice regarding the particular matter, and the City Attorney shall thereupon cease to advise the elected officer, department head board or commission on such matter. Any such finding of a conflict of interest shall not affect the City Attorney’s role as legal advisor to the elected officer, department head, board or commission on all other matters.

If at any time after the retention of outside counsel, the City Attorney believes that there is no longer a conflict of interest, the City Attorney shall state in writing to the elected officer, department head, board or commission why he or she believes that there is no longer a conflict of interest. Within five working days after receiving the written statement from the City Attorney, the elected officer, department head, board or commission shall respond in writing, either agreeing or disagreeing that there is no longer a conflict of interest. If the elected officer, department head, board or commission agrees that there is no longer a conflict of interest regarding a particular matter, the elected officer, department head, board or commission shall cease employing outside counsel for legal advice regarding the matter, and the City Attorney shall serve as legal adviser to the elected officer, department head, board or commission regarding that matter. If the elected officer, department head, board or commission states in its written response that it believes the conflict of interest still exists, the City Attorney may, within ten working days after receiving the response of the elected officer, department head, board or commission, elect to refer the issue of whether the conflict of interest regarding the particular matter continues to exist to the same retired judge who originally heard the matter, if available. The same procedures as established herein shall apply thereafter.

In selecting outside counsel for any purpose described in this Section, the elected officer, department head, board or commission shall give preference to engaging the services of a City attorney’s office, a County counsel’s office or other public entity law office with an expertise regarding the subject-matter jurisdiction of the elected officer, department head, board or commission. If the elected officer, department head, board or commission concludes that private counsel is necessary, that attorney must be a member in good standing with the Bar of California who has at least five year’s experience in the subject-matter jurisdiction of the elected officer, department head, board or commission Any private counsel retained pursuant to this Section shall be subject to the conflict of interest provisions of Section 13.103.5. The cost of any of the services of outside counsel and of the alternative dispute resolution process authorized by this Section shall be paid for by the elected officer, department head, board or commission, subject to the budgetary and fiscal provisions of this Charter.

2. Represent an officer or official of the City and County when directed to do so by the Board of Supervisors, unless the cause of action exists in favor of the City and County against such officer or official;

3. Whenever a cause of action exists in favor of the City and County, commence legal proceedings when such action is within the knowledge of the City Attorney or when directed to do so by the Board of Supervisors, except for the collection of taxes and delinquent revenues, which shall be performed by the attorney for the Tax Collector;

4. Upon request, provide advice or written opinion to any officer, department head or board, commission or other unit of government of the City and County;

5. Make recommendations for or against the settlement or dismissal of legal proceedings to the Board of Supervisors prior to any such settlement or dismissal. Such proceedings shall be settled or dismissed by ordinance and only upon the recommendation of the City Attorney;

6. Approve as to form all surety bonds, contracts and, prior to enactment, all ordinances; and examine and approve title to all real property to be acquired by the City and County;

7. Prepare, review annually and make available to the public a codification of ordinances of the City and County then in effect;

8. Prepare and make available to the public an annual edition of this Charter complete with all of its amendments and legal annotations; and

9. Establish in the Office of the City Attorney a Bureau of Claims Investigation and Administration which shall have the power to investigate, evaluate and settle for the several boards, commissions and departments all claims for money or damages. The Bureau shall also have the power to investigate incidents where the City faces potential civil liability, and to settle demands before they are presented as claims, within dollar limits provided for by ordinance, from a revolving fund to be established for that purpose. The City Attorney shall appoint a chief of the Bureau who shall serve at his or her pleasure. The chief of the Bureau may appoint, subject to confirmation by the City Attorney, investigators who shall serve at the pleasure of the chief.

10. During his or her tenure, not contribute to, solicit contributions to, publicly endorse or urge the endorsement of or otherwise participate in a campaign for a candidate for City elective office, other than himself or herself or of a City ballot measure or be an officer, director or employee of or hold a policy-making position in an organization that makes political endorsements regarding candidates for elective office or City ballot measures.

History

(Amended November 2001; amended November 2002)

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