Why are Tustin’s Legal Fees Rising?

Tustin Councilwoman Deborah Gavello issued a newsletter this morning for Tustin residents in which she posts her disagreement with the apparent and pending dismall of City Manager David Biggs (more on that later). But once you get through her well-reasoned outrage, she calls attention to the rising costs of legal fees the city has been paying for the past few years. Did Gavello. as they say in the news business, bury the lede?

Which begs the question, what is going on here?

From Councilwoman Gavello’s newsletter:

Just prior to his termination, our City Manager, David Biggs, was able to provide me with the following information regarding our budget for legal services.  As you can see from the following figures, our budget has tripled since 2005.  This is unsatisfactory and I will continue to push for greater transparency and requests for proposals from other firms.

Here are the fees for our city attorney, which have tripled:
2005-06     
CITY ATTORNEY    $563,950.94
OTHER LEGAL FEES $130, 480.34
2006-07   
CITY ATTORNEY    $639,112.31
OTHER LEGAL FEES $237,608.73
2007-08    
CITY ATTORNEY $861,625.29
OTHER LEGAL FEES $321,344.73
2008-09  
CITY ATTORNEY $1, 255,179.88
OTHER LEGAL FEES $196,683.20
2009-10 
CITY ATTORNEY $1,430,944.21
OTHER LEGAL FEES $188,100.07
YEAR TO DATE 2010-11 
CITY ATTORNEY $654,600.03
OTHER LEGAL FEES $76,931.68

When he ran as an assembly candidate, Tustin Mayor Jerry Amante proudly proclaimed himself to be a tax fighter, but with legal fees nearly tripling under his watch and his willingness to put Tustin taxpayers on the hook for $200K plus in severance for City Manager Biggs, a fiscal conservative he is not.

  1 comment for “Why are Tustin’s Legal Fees Rising?

  1. kepdapeace
    March 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    It seems strange that republicans are more than willing to be “fiscally responsible” unless it interferes with their goals. Then, they are more than willing to throw taxpayers money away without a second thought. They just don’t necessarily want the public to see what they are throwing it away on. Amante prides himself on running “the machine” and fancies himself another Boss Tweed. Any clue as to what these hefty fees are for?

    Gavello talks a good game on her website and newsletters but does little else to reach out to the citizens of Tustin. In fact, she spends more time being butt-hurt by Boss Amante than actually gaining grassroots support for her positions. We love you anyway, Deb.

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