No Interim City Attorney Hired Yet

Despite having interviewed applicants for an interim city attorney, the city council reported this evening that it still has more interviews yet to do.

The council will have their next public meeting on Wednesday, July 2, at 5:00pm, at Kay Ceniceros Center, with another follow up at 7:00pm.

Public Comments

Among the members of the public who gave comments at tonight's meeting...

Jason Reeves, a city council candidate, who at the first part of the meeting asked the council to select an interim city attorney that reflects the same high moral character of the city, and then again in the second part, called on the council to rely on an ad-hoc committee to help screen applicants for city manager.

Bob O'Donnell, board member of Valley Health System, and Menifee Union School District, who offers the auditorium at Menifee Valley Medical Center for future city council meetings.

Barbara Spencer, of the Menifee Valley Historical Society, who defended herself from remarks that she embarrassed the city council at last week's meeting for having cited the Brown Act, and then went again to ask the council if they have requested "conflict of interest statements" when interviewing applicants, to which the council made no reply (not sure where they stand on this).

Anne Pica, who lead the effort against cityhood, asking if certain members of the city council will resign their positions on the Chamber of Commerce. To which John Denver replied that a discussion about their affiliation with the Chamber is not on the evening's agenda, and therefore is not something to be discussed at this moment. But perhaps when it is on the agenda, and when he's had time to consult with his attorney, a discussion can be made.

Tony Amatulli (I think), spoke out that he arrived at the meeting late because he received the wrong information about where the meeting was to be held. He was actually waiting at the Gymnasium along with about 30 other people. They ended up driving to the Kay Ceniceros Center, just in case the meeting might have been there. But then they finally found it at the school auditorium. He said his source didn't cite where at the high school the meeting was located, only that it was at the high school.

Next Week's Meeting

The council members had some discussion, and perhaps argument, about next week's meeting.

Scott Mann first announced the details of next week's meeting, at 5:00pm, at Kay Ceniceros Center.

John Denver wanted to know why not 4:00pm, since they have so much to do. I didn't really hear any other council members respond to the timing. However, I'll note that Denver was late again to this evening's council meeting, so I'm not sure if moving it an hour early is going to help.

But Denver also noted that the high school auditorium is an excellent venue for a meeting, with comfortable seating for everyone, plenty of parking, and most importantly a great sound system. To which Scott Mann replied that he wasn't trying to knock the high school, but just that he had already made a committment with Kay Ceniceros Center.

Mann, Kuenzi, Edgerton, and Twyman all voted to hold the meeting next week at Kay Ceniceros Center, but I think they did so out of respect for Mann having already made arrangements with the Center. I agree with Denver, it would serve the people better to have the meeting at the high school. I don't think the council should worry about any committments that Mann made with the Center; I'm sure they'll understand.

Side Notes

Denver announced that all of the council members will be in the Independence Day Parade this Saturday, June 28, and urged everyone to come out.

I asked Tywman before the meeting if the city council received a lot of ideas and solicitation through Scott Mann's e-mail address. He said mostly several applicants for city attorney and city manager. It doesn't sound like residents have been submitting their ideas and requests to the council. Mann's e-mail address again is:

Edgerton explained that while he has a lot of prior experience with being on a city council, he's always had a staff of people to rely on for support. He feels awkward with having to run a city council with full respect of the law (Brown Act), and not have an attorney present to advise him.


  1. Questions to the Council Elect:

    Why is the first person you are hiring a City Attorney? Is it because one intelligent, well-spoken individual mentioned the Brown Act? Why not put in place an experienced City Manager? One who has experience hiring an attorney to serve the needs of the City. I am willing to guess that not one of the members of council has experience in hiring a city attorney. Even Edgerton has probably only supported one that was recommended by city staff.

    The City Attorney is probably the most critical person on the City staff. Their interpretations and recommendations, if made incorrectly, can leave the City open to extremely damaging litigation. Misinterpretations can have a lasting if not fatal effect on a new city.

    I hope the council knows what they are doing, because by the looks of the first two council meetings, it doesn’t.

  2. In a news item today, The Californian says a city attorney was chosen.

    Late Wednesday, at the second meeting of the Menifee City Council-elect, the group chose the Costa Mesa law firm of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard & Smith to provide interim legal guidance, subject to contract negotiations.

  3. I would like to say that I emailed all the new council members about a very important factor for our new city which I know they have not even thought about yet. It will fiscally cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars and only one person returned my email.
    Mr. Mann is the only person who responded to me.
    Are they getting so many emails that they cannot just send out a quick, "I got your email, understand your concerns, we will be in touch."?????

  4. Darcy,

    get your signs out of my neighborhood. I am sick of seeing them.

    La Ladera and Stoney.

  5. For those of you who do not know, the new city council and City of Menifee is not officially a city until October 1, 2008. Therefore, the City Council is not actually holding "city council meetings" These are planning meetings and they have no authority to officially hire staff until October 1, 2008.

  6. Haven't these new council members (as of October 1, 2008) ever attended council meetings before or done their homework. It appears as if they have NO idea what they are doing?

  7. We were at the meeting Wednesday and must say, did not see much accomplished to redeem the effort of going. I see that they have now hired an attorney, the same one Canyon Lake has; is that just convenient or would some competitive lawyer have served us better? Any of them could have recited the Brown Act. After all, hiring and paying an attorney is certainly an easy option to their having to stress themselves to read and understand the Brown Act, as any of us could do. So they just 'do their thing' and expect the lawyer to lead them to the water. So does Canyon Lake also have a City Manager we can draft too? Then we could become Canyon Lake Juniors. I'm sorry, but starting out piggybacking on our neighboring city just seems too convenient....

  8. Are the Negative Ladies at it again after their "NO Cityhood Campaign" went down in flames? Are we going to hear their pessimistic accounting of City Council action weekend and weekout?

    The City Council is following the example of the City of Wildomar in hiring a City Attorney, City Manager and City Engineer. Contractual agreement between the Counicl Elect of City of Menifee should be similar as between the City of Wildormar and their staff.

    Give the new City of Menifee the opportunity to gear up for the city to become operationable.

  9. Give them a break. They just are just getting started out. With time I'm sure they'll be prepared.


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