San Diego Deputy City Manager Bruce A. Herring on Aug. 4 “disappointed” that the City Council decided not to provide a legal defense to him and other city officials being sued by the city attorney announced his retirement and will leave his post Sept. 2.
On July 7, City Attorney Michael Aguirre filed a civil lawsuit against eight individuals “whose actions helped create the city’s massive pension deficit of $1.7 billion,” according to his statement.
In addition to Herring, those named in the suit were Ronald L. Saathoff, a San Diego city fire captain and president of Local 145; John A. Torres, a San Diego Police Department analyst; Sharon K. Wilkinson, a city employee assigned to Qualcomm Stadium; Terri A. Webster, former acting city auditor and comptroller; Cathy Lexin, former city human resources director and labor relations manager; Lorraine Lee Chapin, legal counsel for the San Diego City Employees’ Retirement System; and Lawrence Grissom, retirement system administrator. Grissom recently announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31, following 18 years in the job.
“This is particularly frustrating since the California Government Code obliges public agencies to provide a legal defense to employees for any civil action resulting from an act or omission in the scope of employment,” said Herring in a prepared statement. “Further, the performance of duties referenced in this civil litigation was conducted under the authority provided by the City Council and city manager and approved by independent fiduciaries, actuaries, and the city attorney’s office.”
Noting his accomplishments in office, Herring said, “I tried to leverage public tax dollars through entrepreneurial efforts such as corporate partnerships, endowments, private fund-raising, grants, and other creative approaches.
“All in all, I am very proud of the work I have been associated with and the top quality staff I have had the pleasure of working with over the years.”
He added, “I have provided over 30 years of loyal and productive service to the city and feel strongly that the time has come to move on to other aspirations.”