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Court Rejects Attorney General’s Request For Monitor To Oversee The City of Bell

Los Angeles, CA – In Los Angeles Superior Court on December 7, 2010, Judge Robert O’ Brien found that a monitor is not necessary to oversee the operations of the City of Bell (the “City”).

The court reasoned that “all eyes are on the City,” and accordingly, a monitor may be ineffective and costly to the already financially-strapped City. The court was also not convinced that the City prevented the Attorney General in any way from accessing information requested by the Attorney General for its lawsuit.

Despite the City Council’s willingness to concede to a monitor, in the interest of promoting open and transparent governance, the City was also not convinced that the Attorney General had the power to request a monitor and that a monitor would be an effective mechanism to oversee the City. The City also requested limitations on the monitor. For example, the City argued that the monitor concept may put the City at risk by permitting certain individuals who are responsible for Bell’s problems to intrude into the statutorily and judicially protected attorney-client privilege.

“The City has been, and will continue to be, cooperative and open with the Attorney General and all other investigatory agencies and, most importantly, residents of Bell,” said Jamie Casso, Interim City Attorney. “The Attorney General did not set forth sufficient facts and evidence to show that the City has failed to be fully transparent to the City Council, the public, and the City’s police department. In contrast, the City has gone to great lengths, at considerable expense, to be open and transparent to the public and the numerous agencies investigating the City’s past practices. The new Administration is scrupulously, carefully and thoroughly carrying out the most basic functions of an open and transparent government.”

Go here to read or download the court’s decision regarding motion to appoint monitor.

About Meyers Nave

Founded in 1986, the law firm of Meyers Nave is recognized for its work with all types of public entities in California. The firm provides the full scope of legal services to cities, counties, redevelopment agencies and special districts statewide. Meyers Nave’s areas of practice include labor and employment, torts, redevelopment, city attorney and general counsel representations, eminent domain, litigation, writs and appeals, public contracts and land use, and environmental law.


James M. Casso
Interim City Attorney, City of Bell