BROAD EXPERIENCE SERVING AS CHIEF LEGAL ADVISORS TO PUBLIC AGENCIES
Collectively, we have decades of experience and a proven track record serving as chief legal advisors for a variety of agencies. Our lawyers include:
- The Town Attorney of Corte Madera
- Former City Attorneys of San Francisco, Richmond, Santa Rosa and Los Gatos
- San Francisco’s former Chief Deputy City Attorney and former Chief Assistant City Attorney, and numerous former General Counsel for a wide range of San Francisco departments
- The District Counsel for Moraga Orinda Fire District and Sanitary District Number 2 of Marin County
- The General Counsel for The East Cut Community Benefit District
- Former General Counsel for Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District, San Francisco Local Agency Formation Commission and San Francisco Unified School District
- A former Chief Counsel for the Secretary of State
Relying on our broad experience in this area, we take a solution-oriented approach to providing public agencies, and nonprofits that manage public funds, with legal advice that recognizes the realities public officials face. Our goal is to provide practical and creative legal solutions that provide policy makers with options for achieving their policy goals with minimal legal risk.
LEGAL SERVICES TAILORED TO MEET THE UNIQUE NEEDS OF PUBLIC AGENCIES
We provide ongoing and interim city attorney and general counsel services for local governments seeking to have those services provided by a law firm.
For those public agencies with “in-house” legal counsel, we offer specialized legal services as needed on complex, discrete government law issues that arise from time-to-time. We frequently provide in-house city attorneys, county counsel and general counsel with our independent legal analyses and risk assessments of complex constitutional or statutory questions.
Whether we act as a local government’s chief legal advisor or special counsel, our general government advice services include:
- Charter amendments, ballot measures, ordinances and resolutions
- Brown Act, Public Records Act, sunshine legislation and other laws governing local government decision-making and operations
- Complex and sensitive conflict of interest questions and related ethics issues
- Land use, planning, CEQA and development issues
- Complex statutory and constitutional questions, including First Amendment, Equal Protection, Due Process, Fourth Amendment and privacy issues
- Elections matters, including initiative, referendum and recall petitions
- State legislative processes
- Administrative processes
- Multi-agency agreements
- Public contracting
- Employment advice, personnel actions and investigations
- Labor relations and labor negotiation services
ETHICS ADVICE, TRAINING AND REPRESENTATION
Our attorneys have extensive experience in guiding public officials through the labyrinth of ethics laws governing their conduct, and include a current member and a former Chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission Committee of the League of California Cities, and a former General Counsel to the San Francisco Ethics Commission.
We offer proactive ethics advice and training on state and local ethics laws, including:
- Conflicts of interest rules under the Political Reform Act, Government Code section 1090, and common law principles
- Restrictions on gifts to public officials
- Restrictions on use of public resources and mass mailings
- Fair process requirements that apply in quasi-judicial proceedings
- Campaign finance rules under state and local law
We also advise and represent public officials on specific allegations or charges before the California Fair Political Practices Commission.
DEFENDING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Our attorneys represent agencies and officials in federal and state court challenges to their decisions and policies. We have successfully defended public agencies against constitutional challenges to a wide range of charter provisions, ordinances and policies, as well as challenges to administrative agency decisions. We have prevailed on claims alleging violations of open meeting and public records laws, and routinely represent public agencies in civil litigation arising from employer-employee relationships. Our approach is to zealously defend the ability of public officials to make the difficult decisions they are charged with making. Finally, we are skilled negotiators who can assist local agencies in resolving disputes with other parties where that approach is in the best interest of the agency.
UNDERSTANDING THE POLITICAL INTRICACIES OF LABOR ISSUES
Jon Holtzman, RPLG Founding Partner, leads the firm’s Project Labor Agreement (PLA) practice. Mr. Holtzman’s l has a proven track record in negotiating with building and construction trade councils and their affiliated unions.
PLAs, also known as Community Workforce Agreements, are pre-hire collective bargaining agreements with one or more labor organizations that establish the terms and conditions of employment for a specific project. Communities, contractors and labor unions typically use PLAs to ensure smooth completion of projects, to encourage local hiring, to foster robust apprenticeship programs and, more generally, to build alliances with building trade unions.
The RPLG team has drafted and negotiated agreements covering more than $10 billion in project work, with another $10 billion in project work under negotiation.
PLAs that Mr. Holtzman has negotiated include:
- TJPA Transbay Transit Center Program PLA (2011)
- San Francisco Unified School District PLA (2013)
- San Francisco Housing Authority PLA (2015)
- City of Half Moon Bay (2016)
- Fresno Transformative Climate Communities Program (2016)
- Pinole – Hercules Wastewater Treatment Plant PLA (2015)
- City of Martinez PLA (Pending)
- Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (Pending)