For the first time in Santa Clara history, a public employee has been fired by the City Council.
City Attorney Brian Doyle was fired last night on a 5-2 vote.
The five Councilmembers who are 49er friendly voted to dismiss Doyle: Anthony Becker, Raj Chahal, Suds Jain, Karen Hardy and Kevin Park.
Mayor Lisa Gillmor and Kathy Watanabe voted against the dismissal.
Doyle has been a major advocate for Santa Clara. He’s defended the City against the numerous lawsuits initiated by the 49ers. And he’s been effective.
So the 49ers told the five Council members that they want to “see Brian Doyle gone,” according to Jain.
At the beginning of the meeting Doyle’s personal attorney Tom Stout requested an open session. That way the action would be transparent to the public.
But Gillmor said that wasn’t possible because of the way the meeting was called.
Becker specifically requested that it happen behind closed doors. He also told City staff not to publicly release the employee’s name.
After the City Council went behind closed doors, the deliberations took less than 15 minutes.Then, Gillmor announced the results.
It was not announced last night if the dismissal is immediate or who will take over for Doyle.
During the public comment period, there were 27 total speakers. The overwhelming majority supported Doyle and criticized the 49er Five.
Doyle spoke eloquently of his service to the city. He mentioned the $170 million saved from stopping the 49ers from lowering their own rent.
Here’s a sampling of some other comments:
Bob O’Keefe – “You’ll face major problems if you fire Doyle.” (O’Keefe also researched with the City Clerk’s office to confirm that this is the first public employee firing in Santa Clara history).
Carolyn McAllister – “I think this is a sham.”
Debbie Algieri cited texts from PRA between Becker and other external attorneys. Becker in his messages called his constituents trolls. Aligieri said: “The wrong people are on trial here.”
Kiersten Vogel – “this is BS.”
Jerry Campi – “No one should be fired for no cause.”
Susan Hinton called Becker, Chahal, Jain and Park: ”the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.”
Kirk Vartan – “the bitterness is obvious.”
Lee Broughman — mentioned former Councilman Jim Arno and past council misdeeds as a warning.
Linda Zazzarra – “what a tangled web you’re weaving.”
Deborah Von Huene – quoted Mark Twain’s advice to Becker – “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”
Teresa O’Neill – “This is trouble for the City that the City of Santa Clara does not need.”
Four people called to criticize Doyle. One of them was former Santa Clara resident and gadfly Deborah Bress. She calls in periodically using aliases. But her voice is and complaints are pretty obvious.
Bress and others used identical language about the CVRA lawsuit. It’s like they had talking points. Those people also did not disclose their names but had generic aliases.
Stay tuned for more coverage. This is not likely the end of the Brian Doyle story.