We just posted a link to an L.A. Times story about that City Council’s decision to hire its own legal advisor, separate from the bureaucracy overseen by Los Angeles’ elected city attorney, Rocky Delgadillo. The council’s attorney will report to Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller.
San Diego has its own professional number-cruncher: Independent Budget Analyst Andrea Tevlin. We asked her what she thought of the L.A. council’s plan to hire its own attorney and whether she would want one on her staff.
“Actually, it’s something I’ve talked about and explored. It’s not something we have pursued very actively, but something we have looked at,” Tevlin said. She added that she had discussed the idea with members of the San Diego City Council.
Tevlin, who currently oversees a handful of financial and policy analysts, said she works well with the deputy lawyers in City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s office, and “would never want to undermine his role as chief advisor to the city.”
But she said it would be valuable to have a “preliminary advisor” that was in-house in order to provide initial guidance for the council on legal issues.
“It would be very valuable to have someone on our team to help with the formulation of ideas who knows municipal law, inside out and backwards,” Tevlin said. “That would be helpful.”
Tevlin also acknowledged that adding a lawyer to her staff could alleviate the frequent complaints council members make that legal opinions arrive to council offices shortly before the lawmakers are asked to make a decision.
“I think timeliness issue is something we’ve asked about before, but there are all sorts of reasons why this is valuable,” she said.