DANA POINT : Attorney's Benefits Rescinded by Council

The Dana Point City Council this week rescinded its policy of paying retirement benefits for City Atty. Jerry Patterson. The action was at his request.

The new policy, which was approved on a 4-1 vote Tuesday night, also prohibits the city from paying any retirement benefits for future city attorneys who, like Patterson, are independent contractors.

The council agreed to restudy the issue after a former city traffic commissioner last month called for Patterson's resignation for accepting city funds for retirement, despite the fact he is not a city employee.

Patterson, a former Orange County congressman whose wife is running for county supervisor, has collected more than $6,000 from the city for retirement and would have collected $10,584 during the next fiscal year under the old policy.

The benefits are paid to the Public Employees Retirement System, or PERS, a statewide system based in Sacramento that covers about 1 million active members and retirees from public agencies and school systems.

Patterson has been on the PERS system for 17 years, dating back to when he was a member of the Santa Ana City Council.

Patterson, who has been city attorney since Dana Point incorporated in 1989, works for the Costa Mesa-based Burke, Williams & Sorensen law firm.

He began collecting benefits from the city last October and, prior to that, had been collecting benefits as a city attorney in Cypress and from a faculty position at Cal State Long Beach.

City Manager Stephen B. Julian said the council action was proposed by Patterson himself "to clear the air." Patterson has already given the city a cash payment for the year's worth of benefits, Julian said.

City Councilman William L. Ossenmacher voted against the action, although he said it was a good step.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World