As the City Council considers stripping City Attorney Trutanich of his power to advise the council on civil cases and legislation, evidence is emerging that appears to reveal the true extent of the woefully poor level of service that Trutanich is supplying.
It appears that the wheels have been coming off the Trutanich wagon for some considerable time, and that is likely the reason for the City Council's startling unanimous vote to reduce Trutanich's responsibilities so that he can cope with his current legal obligations.
In a sworn declaration to the Court dated April 21, 2011, Deputy City Attorney Claudia Martin states "I am unable to prepare Respondent's Brief by it's current due date of April 27, 2011."
Martin continues "I have not had enough time to review all pertinent documents related to the appeal and need further time." and "I have not had a chance to review the entire appellate file." Tellingly, Martin states "I have previously been one of (7) attorneys covering West Bureau and now I am the only attorney left to cover multiple divisions. Due to budget cuts, one attorney (myself) remains and so my courtroom obligations have increased."
Martin's entire declaration can be viewed by using this link.
While Trutanich seems to have no problem tasking countless attorneys to work on matters that are important to him, such as his awful ACE Program, Martin's declaration shows that he is apparently incapable of providing basic legal services having stripped departments of attorneys so that they can presumably work on his priorities.
Councilmember Ed Reyes recently raised the issue of what had happened to the Arizona boycott ordinance that Trutanich was tasked to draft. Perhaps the one year delay in producing that ordinance has it's own Martin declaration to excuse poor management and an inability to competently assign resources where they are needed.
Whether Trutanich has a plausible explanation for Martin's declaration, or whether he again chooses to hide behind his Chief Deputy when having to confront inconvenient truths about his mismanagement of the city's affairs, it is becoming clear that managing a large legal office in difficult times is beyond Trutanich.
The Martin declaration will doubtless provide useful evidence for the City Council when they further consider their proposal to relieve Trutanich of the burden of having too many tasks that he fails to accomplish. It must surely also raise doubts about his suitability to run the much larger District Attorney's Office.