Pasadena Acting City Attorney Resigns

Pasadena's Acting City Atty. Cristina L. Talley has resigned to become Anaheim's second-ranking attorney after nearly two years as head of the city's legal arm without getting permanent designation.

Talley said Tuesday she informed the mayor in writing Monday that she would leave her position Aug. 1 to become senior assistant city attorney for the city of Anaheim, heading up civil litigation.

"This offers some new challenges for me and opportunity to work in a dynamic city and be part of a very outstanding city attorney's office," said Talley, 39. "Anaheim is a much bigger city with lots of very exciting things going on such as Disneyland expansion and the new development with the Angels."

The Tustin resident said her decision was not influenced by the City Council's refusal to appoint her or anyone else as permanent city attorney against the backdrop of a gender discrimination lawsuit filed last year by four former and current female staff lawyers.

Talley was hired as interim city attorney in August 1994, with the city paying the law firm where she was a partner $15,000 a month for legal services. In January 1995, she left her partnership in Adams, Duque & Hazeltine to become an attorney contracted by the city with the title acting city attorney and a salary of $156,000 annually without benefits. Last May, the council canceled the search for a city attorney that drew 60 applicants, including Talley.

Four attorneys--Ann H. Higginbotham, Ann S. Rider, Carolyn Y. Williams and Julia L. Weston--filed a lawsuit in April 1995 alleging that Victor Kaleta, the previous city attorney, discriminated against them by failing to include them in promotions in 1992. Kaleta had denied the allegations, but resigned in August 1994 under fire from the NAACP and women's groups.

The council brought in Talley to restore the office's stature but the lawsuit alleges she continued the discrimination against female lawyers and laid off Weston in retaliation for her complaint. Those allegations are unfounded, Talley said.

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