City Attorney Mike Aguirre said he has dropped a lawsuit to reinstate his office as the retirement system’s chief legal advisor because the City Council will consider making the move itself.
“We have a chance to get the council to support myself and the mayor,” Aguirre said. He added: “I think we have reasonably good chance.”
Aguirre and Mayor Jerry Sanders have supported the idea of bringing the retirement system’s legal department back under the purview of the City Attorney’s Office. The San Diego City Employee’s Retirement System was given its own independent legal office in 1998.
Without disclosing the specifics of this agreement, Council President Scott Peters said at his weekly press briefing Thursday that he would rather allow the council to solve issues it has control over than to have them play out in litigation, which he deems expensive and unnecessarily. He has not said how he would vote on this issue.
Aguirre unsuccessfully sought control of the general counsel post last year. A judge ruled earlier this year that Aguirre could not represent SDCERS in his pension-benefit challenge, but put off a decision on whether Aguirre could assume the post entirely.
The city attorney then filed a lawsuit alleging that Lori Chapin, a former deputy city attorney, used her position at the city create a new job for herself within the retirement system. Chapin served as the chief legal advisor to SDCERS until her indictment in January.
Now that the case against Chapin has been dropped, the council will consider Sept. 12 whether to repeal the legislation that created the post, which would effectively reinstall the City Attorney’s Office as the general counsel to SDCERS.
Check back later for comments from city and retirement system officials.