EGCC OKs Legal Counsel Representing Both City and Opposing Party

The Elk Grove City Council gave its blessing Wednesday night allowing the firm representing the city's interest to also represent a com...

The Elk Grove City Council gave its blessing Wednesday night allowing the firm representing the city's interest to also represent a company the city will be in negotiations with regarding a potential rezone.

By a 3-2 vote, the city council said it was permissible for City Attorney Jonathon Hobbs law firm, Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard to also represent Capital Nursery. The city is currently seeking to rezone the property of the shuttered nursery. 
City Attorney Jonathon Hobbs' law firm will represent both Elk Grove and a party that is is negotiations with. 
The item was placed on the consent calendar but was pulled for further discussion by Council Member Pat Hume. 

Hume said that he didn't doubt Hobbs would fully represent the city's interest but noted the appearance is problematic.

"I have no doubt members of the public would hold it to a higher level of scrutiny," Hume said. "Therefore, I think, just out of respect for the letter of the law, for appearances and whatever else, that we look to have outside counsel represent the city with respect to any negotiation with Capital Nursery." 

Council Member Steve Detrick said that based on his research he found this happens frequently in the public sector and asked Hobbs how much this has occurred in the past.

"You have done this as a council many times in the past," Hobbs said. "In fact you have graciously approved these types of matters for my firm as well as other private firms that represented the city of Elk Grove.

Hobbs went on to say the other attorney from his firm will simply be giving Capital Nursery legal advise as they negotiate with the city. Hobbs also noted that he and the other attorney work on separate floors and an ethical wall would be established at the Downtown Sacramento white shoe firm. 

With the support of Detrick, Council Member Jim Cooper and Mayor Gary Davis, the council approved the arrangement. Hume and Council Member Robert Trigg vote against it.

"I would agree I think there is a question on the part of the public and that concerns me," Trigg noted. 

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Anonymous said...

I guess Mr Hume understands the "appearance of a conflict of interest" whereas these other guys simply continue to bury their heads in the sand. Let's face it, since Hobbs said it's Ok and we've done it in the past, it makes it all OK. I did not hear any legal reasons...just "we've done it in the past." Why on earth would you want the same company neogiating both sides of a contract? This town continues to amaze in their disregard for transparency and open government. Begs the question why this item was on the "consent" calendar? Is that open government??

Hayseed Plowboy said...

It is unfortunate the city council voted this way and seemingly has operated in this manner according to Mr. Hobbs testimony for sometime now.

Tellingly, when Mayor Davis introduced the matter he seemed to stick his finger in the wind to see which way the wind would blow on the matter. Once Mr. Hume voiced concern about the appearance of impropriety this arrangement would have, Mr. Davis seemingly made a contra-decision.

Anonymous said...

The hiring of Nunez's stadium gang was on consent too. Seems to be a favorite ploy to slip things through.

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