Crisis Management: Public Policy, Ethics and Investigations

Overview

Our attorneys focus on managing high stakes legal crises and sensitive ethical and investigatory matters. We provide confidential evaluations of public malfeasance, conflicts of interest, investigations of official misconduct, and recovery and recoupment of improper payments and expenditures of taxpayer funds. Our clients benefit from our ethics training, forensic policy review and audits as well as our sound guidance on the wide range of ethical and related policy issues.

Working in conjunction with investigative experts and forensic accountants and auditors, we help our clients manage transparency concerns and complex criminal and civil proceedings that arise out of ethical problems. It is our goal to help clients preserve, or regain, public trust, and avoid lasting damage, by promptly and strategically responding to these issues. Our attorneys have been practicing in public law for many years and therefore have intimate knowledge of the rules governing the behavior of public officials as well as the internal relationships within public agencies.

Representative Experience

City of San Bruno. The City hired Meyers Nave as its Special Counsel to handle legal, and public relations matters relating to the devastating and tragic pipeline explosion that took place on September 9, 2010. Our services encompass a broad range of duties related to the investigation, remediation and reconstruction of the community.

City of Bell. We were retained as interim City Attorney in the aftermath of a scandal that attracted national attention and public outrage because top level employees received grossly inflated salaries and benefits. Seeking reform quickly, the City asked Meyers Nave to help craft new policies and procedures to ensure accountability and transparency among public officials going forward.

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The transportation agency retained Meyers Nave to conduct a confidential internal affairs investigation of the officer-involved shooting death of Oscar Grant. This New Year’s Day incident gained public attention throughout the Bay Area and the nation, and sparked protests that extended for a number of weeks following the shooting. The investigation reviewed the actions of the police officers who were involved in the incident to determine any potential misconduct. Meyers Nave issued a public report of its findings and recommendations that resulted in certain changes in BART policies.

County of San Bernardino. We advised the County in an ongoing confidential investigation.

Pinole Redevelopment Agency.  We provided assistance to federal and state Fair Political Practices Commission in an investigation of the Agency’s transactions.

San Jose/Evergreen Community College District. Meyers Nave was retained to conduct a confidential investigation into alleged financial and administrative improprieties by the Chancellor. At the request of the District, Meyers Nave issued a comprehensive public report of findings and recommendations that the District adopted.

City of Stockton. Meyers Nave was retained to help the City Council through a declaration of emergency based on fiscal circumstances, and the adoption of a resolution for future fiscal sustainability. The resolution will serve as a blueprint for future labor negotiations, and calls for transparency and accurate costing for all labor contracts. It also calls for an end to long term contracts with embedded increases that were imposed automatically and without regard for the economic climate.

Moraga-Orinda Fire District. Meyers Nave was retained to provide legal evaluation on a Fair Political Practices Commission compliance matter.

Subpractices

  • When a crisis hits, a public agency can be faced with scrutiny on all fronts and has to answer to the public and its employees.

  • Foremost to any public agency is reducing its risk. We are committed to strengthening clients’ ethics and compliance programs.

  • We have ongoing relationships with various experts, including electronic database, forensic accounting, auditing, best practice and malpractice experts.

  • When a situation arises that calls into question an ethical infraction, quick and effective resolution is key.

  • Courtroom litigation is sometimes unavoidable for certain matters.

  • We help our clients handle employee misconduct and provide tools to deal with the resulting fallout from employee misconduct.

  • On behalf of our clients, we evaluate and audit compliance with open meeting laws, conflicts of interest rules and Public Records Act disclosure procedures.

Publications