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    City Att'y Shannon Submits Budget Memo Seeking to Maintain $267,000 Proposed To Be Cut in Baker-Lowenthal-Lerch Plan

    (September 21, 2002) -- City Attorney Robert Shannon has agendized a memo for Monday, Sept. 23 special Council budget session, making the case for adding four City Attorney positions to his staff.

    The issue arose after Councilmembers Baker, Lowenthal & Lerch proposed in their Sept. 17 budget memo to reduce the City Attorney's budget by roughly $267,000 for what their memo indicated would be two staff positions. Mr. Shannon's memo does not explicitly mention the Baker-Lowenthal-Lerch proposal but makes the case affirmatively for his requested budget allocation.

    We post City Attorney Shannon's memo on a link below.

    Mr. Shannon's memo says the funding for four new positions he seeks will not come from the General Fund but from the Insurance Fund (Charter mandated so the city can be ). The memo says three positions would handle Workers Comp (Mr. Shannon argues current caseload overload could subject taxpayers to possible monetary penalties) and a fourth litigation attorney would save taxpayers money:

    "[T]he average caseload for litigators in eight comparable cities in California is 30-35. The current average caseload for my litigators is 58. While the record of liability payouts remains excellent (on a per capita basis far below any comparable City), this excessive average will, I believe inevitably result in inefficiencies that will in turn lead to financial loss. Additionally, if I am not permitted to hire an additional litigator, I will be forced to hire outside counsel for cases normally handled in-house. This will lead to significant additional cost.

    In summary, the need for the four additional personnel is critical, and can and should be funded out of the Insurance Fund which was created for this very purpose.

    And City Attorney Shannon adds the following:

    "Finally, notwithstanding the above, I fully appreciate the need for significant and immediate reductions in General Fund expenditures. In this regard, I am prepared to accept a reduction in the General Fund portion of my budget equal to that of other departments."

    To view City Attorney Shannon's memo, click City Att'y Shannon's Memo re Proposed $267,000 Reduction in Baker-Lowenthal-Lerch Budget Plan. [Note: attachments omitted]

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