City Attorney

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City Attorney

The City Attorney’s Office represents and advises the Mayor, City Council, City boards and commissions, and City officials and departments in legal matters pertaining to their office and City operations, which include municipal utilities, airports, and public transportation systems.

The City Attorney’s Office prepares legal opinions, ordinances, resolutions, contracts, and other documents requested by the Council and City organizations; implements the legal aspects of policies and programs established by the City; handles criminal prosecution as part of the Office’s code enforcement responsibilities; serves as counsel for the Successor Agency to the Redevelopment Agency; defends the City in civil litigation; and monitors cases assigned to contract legal counsel.

Legal Resources
Policies

Policies are resolutions adopted by the City Council that provide for legal structure, limitations, and organization of the City.

Appointing Authority and Responsibility

Purpose:  Sets forth charter authority for appointment and removal of employees
Affected Departments:  All
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Asset Management Act

Purpose: To create a comprehensive strategy for City real estate assets and develop and efficient management model of City real property assets on a long-term basis.
Affected Departments: Public Works, City Manager
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Better Business Act

Purpose: Provide for uniform due diligence and oversight on private projects seeking City financial assistance of more than $1 million.
Affected Departments: City Manager, City Attorney
Relevant Dates/Events: Annual report by City Manager (in conjunction with the City Attorney’s Office) on status and progress of all private sector projects receiving more than $1 million in City assistance.

Concealed Weapons Act

Purpose: To support issuance of concealed weapons permits by the Chief of Police consistent with the procedures set forth in the Penal Code.
Affected Departments: Police
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Construction Management Act

Purpose: To provide policies and practices to improve City construction planning and management for both General Fund and Enterprise Capital Projects, with more focus on those exceeding $10 million.
Affected Departments: Finance, Public Works, City Manager
Relevant Reporting Dates: City Manager shall provide annual audit of projects exceeding $10 million, annual inventory of all City owned and leased facilities, and annual update of long-term facilities plan.

Council Code of Conduct

Purpose: To increase public confidence in City government, assist Councilmembers with decision-making, and encourage high standards of behavior by Councilmembers
Affected Departments: Council Offices, City Manager, Mayor’s Office, City Attorney
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Council Communication Policy

Purpose: To allow Councilmembers, the Mayor, City Manager, and City staff to communicate with the City Attorney openly regarding legal matters that may ultimately come before Council and allow the City Attorney discretion regarding sharing of such information and on when it is shared with the full Council.
Affected Departments: Council Offices, Mayor’s Office, City Attorney’s Office, City Manager and all City Departments
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Council Management and Transparency Policy for City Attorney’s Office

Purpose: To set forth financial and administrative reporting requirements for the City Attorney’s Office.
Affected Departments: City Attorney’s Office
Relevant Reporting Dates: April (annually) – provide annual City Attorney’s report. Quarterly – provide service and litigation log.

Council Orientation Act

Purpose: To better prepare incoming Council members for service through a carefully constructed curriculum of workshops, meetings with department heads, meetings with other agencies that work closely with the City, and site visits to City facilities.
Affected Departments: Council Offices
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Council Residency Act

Purpose: Provide criteria for establishing residency of Council Members and Council candidates.
Affected Departments: Council Offices, City Clerk
Relevant Reporting Dates: Between December 1 and December 31 of each year, Council Members must submit required documentation to City Clerk.

Economic Expansion Act (Amended 4/6/2017)

Purpose: To provide economic incentives and facilitate citywide economic expansion.
Affected Departments: City Manager, City Attorney, Development and Resource Management
Relevant Reporting Dates: City Manager shall provide annual reports to the Council as part of the annual report required by the Mitigation Fee Act.

Enterprise Accountability and Oversight Act

Purpose: To improve the management of enterprise department capital projects in the City.
Affected Departments: City Manager, Public Utilities, Airports, FAX, Convention Center
Relevant Reporting Dates: City Manager shall provide semi-annual progress reports to the Council on enterprise capital projects valued in excess of $1 million.

Fiscal Sustainability Policy

Purpose: To address short-term and long-term budget challenges.
Affected Departments: City Manager, Personnel, Budget, Finance, Retirement
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Infill Development Act

Purpose: To provide policy guidelines to successfully implement infill development.
Affected Departments: City Manager, Development and Resource Management, Public Works
Relevant Reporting Dates: Annually – update inventory of vacant land and underutilized property.

Labor Management Act

Purpose: Establish a policy to standardize and reinforce best practices for labor management policies for the City of Fresno, and to improve fiscal accountability and transparency in City government.
Affected Departments: Personnel, City Manager, Retirement, City Attorney
Relevant Reporting Dates: July (annually) – City Manager to present Annual Labor Relations Report. Fiscal Impact Report to be provided to City Council along with any new/successor MOU approval requests. Any changes or side letters affecting existing MOUs having a fiscal impact on the budget requires City Council approval, with City Manager to present a detailed analysis including the net fiscal impact.

Litigation Management Act

Purpose: To develop policies and best practices that ensure efficient management and handling of litigation cases with the intent of reducing litigation expenses for the City.
Affected Departments: City Attorney’s Office, Personnel/Risk Management
Relevant Reporting Dates: (Same as Council Management and Transparency Policy for City Attorney’s Office.) April (annually) – provide annual City Attorney’s report. Quarterly – provide service and litigation log.

Redevelopment Improvement Act

Purpose: To set forth administrative policies and procedures for evaluation and oversight of private sector proposals requesting more than $1 million in Agency financial assistance.
Affected Departments: Successor Agency, City as Housing Successor to the former Redevelopment Agency
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Reserve Management Act

Purpose: Develop reasonable, comprehensive, fund balance/reserve management policies for the City and to comply with Government Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 54, Fund Balance Reporting and Governmental Fund Type Definitions.
Affected Departments: Finance, Budget, Public Utilities, Development and Resource Management, Personnel/Risk Management, General Services Department, Information Services Department, Public Works, Retirement
Relevant Reporting Dates: August (annually) – Controller shall prepare comprehensive report on City’s fund balance reserve types as of the prior June 30. Every five years – City Manager to make recommendations to Council regarding fund balance reserve policies during annual budget hearings.

School Liaison Act

Purpose: To improve communications between the City and school governing boards and to promote coordination and cooperation.
Affected Departments: Council Offices, Mayor’s Office, City Manager, Development and Resource Management, Public Works, FAX, Police, Fire, Parks, City Attorney
Relevant Reporting Dates: Annually or as-needed, Subcommittee Chairperson shall report results of subcommittee meetings to Council. Annual joint meeting with school boards.

Streetlight Funding Act

Purpose: To identify funding sources, policy priority, and implementation of a proactive citywide streetlight theft deterrent concrete encasement program.
Affected Departments: Budget, Public Works
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Taxpayer Protection Act

Purpose: Establish and maintain effective debt management of the City’s financial resources.
Affected Departments: Finance, Budget
Relevant Reporting Dates: Controller shall annually prepare a Comprehensive Annual Debt Report and present to Council following completion of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) and preferably before Mayor’s submission of proposed budget.

Transparency in City Government Act

Purpose: To improve transparency in City government by providing disclosure of City employees’, elected officials’, and professional consultants’ compensation. Also prohibits bonuses and regulates employment contracts for non-represented officials and employees.
Affected Departments: Personnel, City Manager, City Attorney, Budget
Relevant Reporting Dates: By June 1 annually (when Mayor’s proposed budget provided to Council) – Annual Employee/Official Compensation Disclosure Reports to be published and made available to Council, as pre-condition of approving annual City budget. The Consultant Disclosure Report and the executive employee/elected official salary comparison to comparable cities matrixes also to be provided by June 1 annually (when Mayor’s proposed budget provided to Council). During the annual budget presentation hearings, City Manager to make a presentation to Council and provide a written report outlining all of the reporting required by the Act.

Water Conservation Act

Purpose: Develop policies and practices that will conserve water usage by all City water customers and provide better overall management of City water resources.
Affected Departments: Public Utilities
Relevant Reporting Dates: None

Management Team
Douglas T. Sloan
City Attorney

Douglas T. Sloan was appointed City Attorney in March 2013. The City Attorney represents the City, through the City Council, Mayor, City Manager, and staff, in all City legal matters. The City Attorney also oversees the office of 19 lawyers in house, over 38 employees total, and directs many outside attorneys in representing the City in litigation and transactional matters.  Prior to being appointed City Attorney, he served as an Assistant City Attorney, supervising the Economic Development and Finance Unit from June 2006.

A 1987 graduate of the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law, Mr. Sloan has been practicing law for nearly 30 years. He has been admitted to practice in Missouri, Kansas, and California, and has handled trial and appellate matters in state courts, the United States District Courts, and the 8th, 9th, and 10th United States Circuit Courts of Appeals. As an Assistant City Attorney, he was a supervisor, working on environmental clean-up matters, complex litigation and business agreements, eminent domain, real estate, redevelopment, and oversight of contract counsel. Prior to joining the City Attorney’s Office, he practiced in the private sector in Missouri, Kansas, and California. He was with the Fresno firm of Dowling & Aaron, handling all aspects of complex litigation and real estate issues. He also was with the firm of Forrest, Henderson, Sloan & Davis, where handled complex litigation, including lead trial and appellate counsel in the case of AHDC v. City of Fresno

Francine M. Kanne
Chief Assistant City Attorney

Francine M. Kanne was appointed Chief Assistant City Attorney in June 2013 and is the head of the Litigation Unit. Prior to being appointed Chief Assistant, she served as an Assistant City Attorney, supervising the Litigation Unit from September 2004.

A graduate of San Joaquin College of Law, Ms. Kanne has been practicing law for over twenty years. As head of the Litigation Unit, her responsibilities include a wide variety of civil defense matters including Civil Rights violations, municipal liability, personnel, and labor relations. Prior to joining the City Attorney’s Office, she practiced in the private sector as a partner with Dowling, Aaron & Keeler working on complex business litigation, defending employers in business, corporate, agriculture, employment and construction cases often valued in excess of a million dollars. She also was an Associate with the firm of Georgeson & Bellardinelli.

Ms. Kanne is an active member of the Fresno County Bar Association, a board member of the Federal Bar Association, and serves on several community service committees. She strives to contribute to the community where she has been a life-long resident. She and her husband enjoy spending time outdoors on their ranch with their pets and gardening.

Katherine Doerr
Chief Assistant City Attorney

Katie has served the Fresno City Attorney’s Office since 2007. She was appointed Assistant City Attorney in October 2014 to head the Transactions Unit, covering a wide range of areas including land use, real property, contracts, finance, and related municipal law. Prior to joining the City Attorney’s Office, Katie practiced business and employment litigation at Dowling, Aaron & Keeler. Katie graduated from U.C. Davis School of Law in 2004, after receiving her degree in Philosophy from U.C. San Diego. Katie is a member of the Fresno County Bar Association and was on the Board of Directors for the Fresno County Young Lawyer’s Association from 2005 to 2009. A Fresno native, Katie enjoys spending time in the mountains with her husband Joe and two young sons, and competes in hunter/jumper horse shows throughout northern California.

Tina R. Griffin
Assistant City Attorney

Tina R. Griffin J.D. ’99 is the Assistant City Attorney assigned to the Litigation Unit. She has served the Fresno City Attorney’s Office since 2006, specializing in employment litigation, personnel, and labor relations. Prior to joining the City Attorney’s Office, Ms. Griffin practiced law in the private sector handling employment discrimination/civil rights litigation, employment defense litigation, and insurance defense litigation for local (William J. Smith & Associates and Cooper & Hoppe), statewide (Lozano Smith), and national (Littler Mendelson) law firms. Ms. Griffin enjoys reading and traveling. She and her husband keep quite busy with their three very active children, twins (boy and girl) and daughter, in sports (football, track, basketball, soccer) and other activities.

Laurie Avedisian-Favini
Assistant City Attorney

Laurie Avedisian-Favini served as a Deputy City Attorney from 2007-2010 and returned to the City Attorney’s Office in 2014.  She specializes in ethics and conflict laws, election issues, contracts, real estate transactions, Proposition 218, and related municipal law. Laurie graduated from California State University, Fresno with a B.S. in Business Administration in 2001, and from the University of San Diego School of Law, cum laude, in 2003. She began her legal career in the private sector working on business and real estate transactions and estate planning. Prior to returning to the City Attorney’s office, she practiced municipal law, serving as contract City Attorney for cities in Fresno and Kings Counties. Laurie is a member of the Fresno County Bar Association and served as President in 2013. She was President of Fresno County Young Lawyers’ Association in 2008.

Talia Kolluri-Barbick
Supervising Deputy City Attorney

Talia has served the Fresno City Attorney’s Office since 2011 and specializes in land use, planning, the California Environmental Quality Act, and related municipal matters. Prior to joining the City, she was a prosecutor for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and practiced insurance defense litigation in the private sector. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School, after earning a B.A. in History from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

She and her husband enjoy hiking, traveling, and are actively involved in the Fresno arts community.

Erica M. Camarena
Supervising Deputy City Attorney

Erica oversees the litigators assigned to the Code Enforcement Unit who prosecute the Fresno Municipal Code.  As a trial lawyer, Erica focuses on civil rights, police liability, personal injury, and various aspects of public entity defense in administrative hearings, State Court, Federal Court, the Fifth District Court of Appeals, and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Erica earned her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, Fresno before graduating from San Joaquin College of Law.  Erica’s experience developed while clerking for the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office.  Her interest evolved into the area of entertainment contracts and Native-American Indian law while clerking in the legal department of Table Mountain Casino.  Formerly an Associate with the law firm of Weakley, Arendt & McGuire, Erica defended various municipalities in wrongful death and personal injury actions.

In addition to being active in civic and professional organizations, Erica has developed training materials and presented an MCLE course on issues having large impacts on litigation.  She works with the law school in hosting forums for prospective students; teaches Sunday School at church, enjoys traveling with her family, and is currently fostering children.

Public Records Act

The California Public Records Act (CPRA) is California state law that gives the public the right to inspect and copy most records retained by governmental agencies in the course of business. The CPRA regulates the public’s access to the records and contains limited statutory circumstances when records need not be disclosed.

The City department where the records are located is responsible for responding to requests for public records as the custodian of records. The City Attorney’s Office is frequently consulted to assist City staff in responses to requests.

Additional Information:
Frequently Asked Questions Under the California Public Records Act
Relevant Examples of Statutes that Exempt Information Contained in a Public Record from Disclosure