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Milestones: Screw The Ethics! – Opinion

When a senior employee is hired by the City of Santa Clara, there are specific guidelines to which that employee subscribes.

These include the standard language you would expect. In addition, there is a document which the employee signs and swears to uphold and defend. This document is known as the City “Code of Ethics.”

There are no higher profiles and places of importance than City Manager Deanna Santana and City Attorney Brian Doyle. Both have signed contracts with the City and in turn agree to defend and protect the values of Santa Clara including city finances.


While Santana’s $765,000 compensation package raises questions as to being over the top, that is another issue.

When you review the behavior and actions of City Attorney Doyle, you have to ask as this column has numerous times, “Why is he still employed?”

The amount of costs to Santa Clara created by Doyle and Mayor Gillmor is off the charts. Doyle’s salary of $320,000 is within acceptable limits providing his services and advice are beneficial, correct, and competent.

That is the issue.

First, is his incorrect belief that he could win a lawsuit against the California Voting Rights Act requiring cities to form districts, which allow for diversified representation. The lawsuit costs were charged to Santa Clara residents. This was not only a bad decision, it proved to be a futile one. He hired an outside legal firm which charged Santa Clara nearly $1.5 million.

Those charges were only the beginning. He lost the verdict and the plaintiffs were awarded $4,000,000, also charged to residents. (This was avoidable if he just agreed to districts.)

With Mayor Gillmor’s blessing, he filed an appeal. This cost residents another $712,000, plus $490,000 in interest on the $3.16 million court award.

Just before the appeal went to court, Doyle received a letter from the CVRA attorney offering Santa Clara a $1,000,000 reduction if the City dropped the appeal. HE WITHHELD THIS LETTER FROM THE CITY COUNCIL, and Santa Clara also LOST the appeal.

Doyle has violated his “at will” employment contract and the City’s Code of Ethics, and likely legal ethics. Do you need to ask, “Why is he still employed?”

But wait, there is more! Attorney Doyle has challenged numerous charges from the 49ers in expenses for managing Levi stadium. The 49ers had to sue Santa Clara to collect. This has cost residents tens of thousands in outside legal fees plus interest on the unpaid bills.

It’s obvious that this is a blatant affront to every resident. Santa Clara citizens are entitled to competent, capable legal counsel and leadership.

Citizens are due imminent action from their City Council to quickly right the ship, restore discipline, act with decisiveness and conduct business in an honest, ethical and timely manner.

Why is attorney Doyle still employed by Santa Clara?


  1. wesley mukoyama 3 years ago

    Yes, why is Brian Doyle, the City Manager Deanne, Chief Nikolai still there. We will be much better off when they are gone. We also must make Mayor Gilmor and Kathy Watanabe accountable for the unnecessary spending of our Taxpayers’ money of more than $5million. Keep pressing and do not let them forget that.

  2. Curious legal 3 years ago

    Can he be disbarred for his incredibly bad judgement? Has he been reported to the California Bar? Will they confirm an investigation, if there is one?

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