Solvang City attorney Chip Wullbrandt resigned days prior to the expected termination of his contract.
Wullbrandt reportedly filed his resignation late last week and ended his appearance as city attorney a few days before Solvang City Council’s special session on Monday. The meeting is scheduled to begin on Monday at 5 p.m.
This meeting, called by the new Mayor Charlie Uhrig at the end of December 14th, contains two items to be discussed in a closed session, as permitted by Ralph M. Brown’s law (Open Meetings).
The first point indicates the discipline, dismissal or release of the city attorney.
A second point concerns the appointment of a public clerk and identifies the position of city attorney.
After a closed-door meeting, the city council will return to the open session, possibly to approve the contract with the city attorney and instruct city manager Xenia Bradford to carry out the new deal.
Neither Wullbrandt nor Bradford would publish Wullbrandt’s letters of resignation, and Uhrig did not respond to a query on the matter on Saturday night.
Wullbrandt of Santa Barbara-based law firm Price, Postel & Parma LLC, served as Solvang City Attorney for 18 months.
“I was hired by former Mayor Ryan Toussaint in mid-2019. I really liked his and the city council’s vision for Solvang and I really enjoyed working with and for the former city council, ”Wullbrandt said in a written statement to Noozhawk.
He said the former council had “big goals and a very active agenda”.
“I worked many hours beyond what I was billed for and we achieved a lot. At PP&P we pride ourselves on doing our clients thorough and professional work. We’re not cheap or cheap, but we’re efficient and effective, ”he said.
Solvang, like other jurisdictions, has faced challenges due to the COVID-19 restrictions that have severely impacted the tourism industry. During this time, Wullbrandt said, PPP “served the city well in response to the many challenges it faced”.
“The new mayor and at least some members of the new council want to go in a different direction than the previous council, and it makes sense that they have the opportunity to work with a lawyer of their choice. We wish the city all the best. “
Wullbrandt was appointed provisional city attorney after the former legal counsel resigned in May 2019. Although his hourly rate exceeded others who put forward proposals for service to the city, the city council hired Wullbrandt as permanent city attorney.
He quickly gathered a balance sheet well in excess of the former attorney’s annual rate of approximately $ 100,000. From July through November, Wullbrandt submitted bills for $ 159,905.
At some point last year, Wullbrandt included a “courtesy discount” on bills out of concern about its high costs.
For example, an invoice on the August 30th July agenda listed $ 49,181 as the grand total, but with a discount of $ 13,717, which equates to a price of $ 35,421.
An invoice dated June 30 was $ 61,869 but was reduced by $ 34,717 with the discount, bringing the requested payment to $ 27,152.
For the first nine months of the previous fiscal year, his payments were over $ 500,000.
Wullbrandt was also more involved than most of the city’s lawyers, such as participating in the 2019 Julefest Parade with members of the city council.
He often pointed out that since he was there the city did not pay for travel to gatherings.
With Wullbrandt as legal advisor, Solvang was accused of violating state law in open meetings, forcing the panel to overturn the inappropriate acts.
Former city attorney Dave Fleishman of Atascadero-based law firm Hanley & Fleishman announced his resignation in May 2019.
“The majority of the city council has the law and should be served by a city lawyer whose ethical standards and rule of law commitment are more in line with their own,” Fleishman said in a written statement.
Since then, Hanley has retired and Fleishman has joined Richards Watson & Gershon, which has an office in San Luis Obispo.
Fleishman is the contracted attorney for Pismo Beach.