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By Daniel Ritz
Dana Point City Council members Debra Lewis and Paul Wyatt’s recommendation to issue Requests for Proposals (RFP) from licensed California lawyers and law firms to act as the City Attorney were denied by a 3-2 vote during the Feb. 20 City Council meeting.
Lewis said the call for RFP’s is “prudent and fiscally responsible,” noting that RFP’s had not been sought for the position since the law firm Rutan & Tucker, LLP was brought on in 2002.
Council member Paul Wyatt supported Lewis, clarifying that, “the Council is not personally criticizing the performance or budget usage of the City Attorney. For that, we as the Council must take responsibility. He listens to us.”
Council member Joe Mueller disagreed, stating that he thought a call for RFP’s showed a lack of support for City Attorney Patrick Munoz’s “exemplary track record.”
“Sending out for RFP’s is putting the cart before the horse,” said Mayor Richard Viczorek. He continued, stating clearer guidelines were needed to judge Munoz’s performance.
At the City Council meeting on Feb. 6, Mayor Viczorek made what many considered a controversial decision to call discussion of the City Attorney into closed session in-lieu of possible Brown Act violations. Mayor Viczorek stated at the meeting on Feb. 20 that he stood behind this decision, and still felt it should as the City Attorney position was, in his interpretation, a City employee position. City Attorney Patrick Munoz voluntarily opened the discussion, and copies of his supplied performance review are available online at www.danapoint.org.