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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Ballot and voting information for San Diego County.
This is an archive of a past election.

Regarding Required Term of Service for Certain Terminations or Suspensions of Deputy City AttorneysCharter Amendment

Local
November 8, 2016California General Election

City of San Diego
Measure F Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required

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Election Results

Passing

317,803 votes yes (68.27%)

147,720 votes no (31.73%)

Shall the City Charter be amended to change the term of service required of Deputy City Attorneys, for protection from termination or suspension without good cause, from two years or more of continuous service to one year or more of continuous service, which protection would continue not to apply to layoffs due to lack of work or insufficient appropriations?

Information provided by League of Women Voters San Diego

The Proposal

What it would do:

 

Changes the probation period for Deputy City Attorneys (there are currently about 160 of them) from 2 years to 1 year. During the probationary period, they can be terminated or suspended without good cause. Lack of work and insufficient appropriations remain reasons to terminate a Deputy Attorney. 

Supporters say

  • This measure would make the Deputy City Attorney job less vulnerable to politics or to retribution against whistleblowers.

  • Shortening the probationary hiring period will attract and retain good lawyers to the City Attorney's office, and create less turnover. (In the last five years, 77 Deputy City Attorneys have left the office.)

  • The Deputy City Attorneys' Union supports the measure.

  • It is done in other cities in California.

Opponents say

 

  • Deputy City Attorneys will need to be evaluated more quickly.

  • One year is insufficient time to evaluate the job performance of a deputy city attorney.

Summary

This measure would amend the San Diego Charter to reduce the number of years of service necessary before a Deputy City Attorney can only be terminated or suspended for good cause, with certain exceptions listed in the Charter.

— San Diego City Attorney

Background

This measure was proposed by the City Council, approved by its Charter Review Committee, and placed on the ballot by the Council. If approved, the Charter amendment would become effective after it is chaptered by the California Secretary of State.

— San Diego City Attorney

Impartial analysis / Proposal

This measure would amend the fifth paragraph of Article V, section 40 of the San Diego Charter, which currently provides that a Deputy City Attorney who has served continuously for two or more years, may not be terminated or suspended without good cause. This provision was added to the Charter by Proposition B, adopted by the voters at the special municipal election held on November 2, 2010.

If approved by voters, this Charter amendment would reduce the period of continuous service required by a Deputy City Attorney from two years to one year, so that a Deputy City Attorney would have good cause protection after one year of service. The good cause provision does not apply to layoffs due to lack of work or lack of funding. 

— San Diego City Attorney

Financial effect

This measure would amend a section of the City Charter related to the employment protections of Deputy City Attorneys in the Office of the City Attorney. Currently, Deputy City Attorneys with two years or more of continuous service are protected from termination or suspension without good cause, except for layoffs due to lack of work or insufficient appropriations. If approved, this measure would change the term of service required for these protections from two years or more of continuous service to one year or more of continuous service.

There is no fiscal impact associated with this Charter amendment

— San Diego City Attorney

Arguments FOR

ARGUMENT IN FAVOR OF MEASURE F

Measure F will help attract and retain good lawyers for the City by ensuring the City Attorney's Office remains independent and non-political.

The City Attorney's Office should never be used to further an elected official's political agenda. Legal advice should always be based upon the law, not politics.

By shortening the probation period from two years to one year, deputy city attorneys achieve their job protections sooner. This measure makes it harder for politics to influence the office and its makeup.

Over the past five years, the City Attorney’s Office has lost over 77 attorneys out of approximately 150 attorneys due to retention issues. The City needs every tool available to help attract and retain qualified lawyers in its workforce.

This measure protects the City and deputy city attorneys from political pressure, while maintaining quality standards.

The one year probation period makes sure that deputy city attorneys can only be fired for ethical lapses or poor legal work, but not for telling the truth, speaking up to prevent an illegal act, or for giving researched legal opinions.

A "YES" vote for Measure F protects taxpayers by ensuring the City Attorney's Office continues to provide quality legal advice to the City and maintains its professional reputation.

Measure F is supported by the City Council, the Deputy City Attorney’s Association, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association and the League of Women Voters.

/s/

SHERRI LIGHTNER 
Council President, City of San Diego

MARK MERCER 
President, Deputy City Attorneys Association of San Diego

HANEY HONG 
President and CEO, San Diego County Taxpayers Association

JEANNE BROWN 
President, League of Women Voters of San Diego

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Arguments AGAINST

ARGUMENT AGAINST MEASURE F

No argument against Measure F was filed in the office of the City Clerk.

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments FOR

[None]

— San Diego Registrar of Voters

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

[None]

— San Diego Registrar of Voters
No on Measure F
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