At a closed session meeting January 11, the Santa Clara City Council appointed 60 year-old Civil Service Commission Chair Brian Doyle as interim Santa Clara City Attorney. Doyle’s appointment is for six months.
Doyle’s appointment comes after the resignation of Ren Nosky, who served as Santa Clara City Attorney for more than five years. The interim appointment, according to Council Member Patricia Mahan, gives the Council some breathing room to deliberate about the best plan for meeting the City’s needs – in house legal counsel or through outsourcing to a law firm.
“We wanted the time to think about the long term,” said Council Mayor Patricia Mahan. “We had a couple of outstanding law firms come forward. One of the assignments for the interim City Attorney will be to analyze the city’s current staffing and outside legal contracts.”
Santa Clara currently has one city attorney and four assistant city attorneys. Council meeting minutes over the last two years show the City has had contracts with at least eight law firms for services during that time.
“Brian has experience with housing programs, real estate transactions, development of affordable housing and contracts,” said Council Member Teresa O’Neill in a news release posted last Friday at 5:30 p.m. These are “all areas that will be extremely valuable during the next few months as the City continues negotiations on significant legal matters.”
“Brian has shown leadership and passion about City issues,” said Council Member Dominic Caserta. “I’m hoping that’s reflected in judicious and unbiased guidance for the Council over the next six months.”
One of Doyle’s first responsibilities is likely to be hiring a legal firm to defend the City is the lawsuit filed last week by the 49ers charging the city with breach of contract.
Doyle is a graduate of UC Berkeley law school and retired after 22 years as Senior Deputy City Attorney from the City of San José, where he advised the IT, purchasing, environmental services, code enforcement, zoning and planning, fire and rental dispute departments. After retiring in 2012, Doyle launched a private law firm, which represents the Santa Clara County Housing Authority.