San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre on March 1 in his latest volley against City Hall accused Mayor Dick Murphy and the City Council of violating the city charter.
According to Aguirre, Murphy and certain City Council members have hired private attorney Paul Pfingst, former San Diego district attorney, to issue an opinion in closed session over who has the authority to represent the city in litigation.
“Under their plan, the mayor and Council would hire outside counsel and not the city attorney to defend the city against the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System lawsuit to block the city attorney from acting as the SDCERS lawyer,” said Aguirre in a prepared statement.
Last month, the outgoing SDCERS board sued the city and city attorney to stop Aguirre from becoming its lawyer.
Their efforts, said Aguirre, are “serving to delay the progress of the federal investigation into the city’s pension fund and related finances.
“The mayor and certain members of the Council are thwarting the will of the voters and aiding those who are responsible for the pension fraud and massive deficit facing the city,” he added.
Aguirre slammed Pfingst, a former political rival for the office of district attorney, for claiming that “the City Council actually intended to take the representation of the SDCERS board away from the city attorney, although the Council approved an ordinance that said exactly the opposite.
“There is no legal basis for the ridiculous opinion of Mr. Pfingst,” said Aguirre, who added that the city code “provides clearly that the city attorney designates the lawyers for the board.”
A spokeswoman for Murphy’s office said that, “The Mayor has no comment. To have public discussion of what happens in a closed session is a violation of the city’s ethics code. Mr. Aguirre might be willing to do that, but the mayor is not.”