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Milestones – An Early Christmas? – Opinion

Santa Clara was blessed with an early Thanksgiving present in the termination of City Attorney Brian Doyle.

This decision was long overdue and well justified. Not just because of his undying defense of Mayor Lisa Gillmor, but the spurious advice he gave the City Council. His undefendable decision to withhold an offer letter from California Voting Rights attorney Robert Rubin would have saved the city over a million dollars. His decision to appeal the court’s decision mandating six districts was another foolish blunder costing Santa Clara millions more.

Of course, Doyle was endorsed by Mayor Lisa Gillmor, though she has not discussed this endorsement. However, the rumor is that she still supported Doyle even as the Council was voting to terminate him.


What is even more disturbing is the presence of Doyle at City Council meetings. He continues to hang around offering more of his bad advice “as a citizen.” The latest example is Doyle’s caustic remarks regarding the possibility of Levi’s Stadium and Santa Clara being selected as a host for the 2026 World Cup.

Sources tell us Doyle is also in the process of bringing a lawsuit against Santa Clara. You kind of wonder if he will represent himself on that one.

The Council has begun a search for an interim attorney who has experience in working with cities.

City Manager Deanna Santana’s office is responsible for preparing the application (RFP), which outlines the responsibilities of the position. Since the Council is looking for an interim attorney, the position should have the option of limited hours and give the Council opportunity to evaluate the applicant.

However, when Santana’s office prepared the RFP, it clearly indicated the position would require 100% of the applicant’s time be dedicated to Santa Clara. This was no doubt intentional, as it would automatically eliminate about 50% of all potential applicants.

The Council has made it clear they are looking for an interim attorney and would allow for flexibility as they worked with the new applicant and observed their work, advice and capabilities.

There is little question that City Manager Deanna Santana is not a good fit for Santa Clara. Her draconian approach to management, her nepotism of former cronies to replace long-term City employees, her support of terminated Doyle, her $800,000 compensation package are just a few reasons she also needs to depart Santa Clara.

Perhaps Santa Clara will be the recipient of an early Christmas present.


  1. Jim 3 years ago

    Who does Santana work for? The City? The Council? The People? If any answers are negative- fire her.

  2. joe 3 years ago

    It is the head of the snake that needs to go.

  3. Winnie Sloan 3 years ago

    Santa Clara City Manager Santana has apparently adopted a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude towards managing this city. With the example of Brian Doyle doing as he wanted, not what was proper (with regards to notifying Council about the offer from the opposing lawyer), Santana is marching down that same road. She wants to set her own policies regardless of what Council wants. The Council has indicated they want time to evaluate a new attorney – something that would be worthwhile given the prior issues with Brian Doyle. Is Santana planning on putting in a buddy of hers as the City Attorney? Brian Doyle was a buddy of Theresa O’Neill. The City Council is being railroaded as well as bulldozed by Santana. Santana is still an “at will” employee. She has no leverage over holding her job if her actions do not appropriately represent the city. Her salary is a continuing burden to Santa Clara and will be with her retirement payouts. As a reference, the City Manager of Redwood City earns around $300,000 for a population of 85,000. Santana earns $800,000 for a population of 132,000. Why is Santana’s salary 2.5 times that of Peninsula City for a population only 40,000 people higher?

  4. Deanna Santana 3 years ago

    Miles completely made up facts to reach his opinion. This response has been shared with the full Council and outside attorney handling the recruitment. The truth is that City Council has an outside attorney overseeing ALL aspects of the recruitment for an interim and permanent city attorney. HE IS WRONG by writing that I am responsible for the recruitment and all of the other false allegations. It’s a matter of public information. I am not involved in any way, nor would that be appropriate from a governance standpoint. The Council could confirm this truth, if he only sought the facts.

    • Davy L. 3 years ago

      Hi. Glad for your participation into this discussion. You’ve accused Miles as being “WRONG”. OK. Is it true or not, that your office is responsible for preparing the application (RFP)? Is it true or not, that you are currently enjoying an annual $800,000 compensation package from our city? Here two other questions for you: Did Doyle informed you concerning the offer letter from California Voting Rights attorney Robert Rubin? If not, are you upset that the city failed to act upon this offer? Thank you.

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