After two years of interim leadership, the City is nearing the end of its search for a permanent city attorney as City Council is set to vote on hiring current Fresno City Attorney Douglas Sloan in a May 10 meeting. 

Douglas Sloan has worked for the City of Fresno for the past 16 years and headed the legal department for the past nine. As reported in the Fresno Bee, Fresno City Councilmembers were very sad to hear Sloan’s announcement to leave and plan to recognize his service by declaring Douglas Sloan Day during the last council meeting of May.

The Santa Monica City Council staff report recommends appointing Sloan for a position commencing on June 6. According to the Fresno Bee, Sloan informed officials on April 28 of his intent to leave Fresno for a new job in Southern California starting in June. 

In Fresno, Sloan oversaw an office of 22 lawyers and over 129 total employees. He has over 30 years of experience practicing law and graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law in 1987. He was admitted to the California State Bar in 1998 and began serving as the Fresno assistant city attorney in 2006 before becoming city attorney in 2013.

Prior to working as a city lawyer, Sloan was a private sector lawyer in Missouri, Kansas and California and has a strong background in real estate law. He has handled trial and appellate matters in state courts, the United States District Courts, and the 8th, 9th, and 10th United States Circuit Courts of Appeals.

Sloan’s 2020 base pay excluding benefits was $263,650, which is slightly below the former City Attorney Lane Dilg’s base pay of $283,000 when she was initially hired in 2018.

Dilg left her attorney role to become interim city manager in April 2020, following the abrupt pandemic prompted resignation of former City Manager Rick Cole. 

Longtime City lawyer George Cardona became Interim City Attorney in April 2020 and another longtime attorney with the City, Joseph Lawrence, came out of retirement to step into the interim position in October 2021 when Cardona departed. As the search for a permanent attorney dragged on, a third interim attorney, Susan Cola was appointed in April 2022. 

The search has been tainted by accusations of Councilmember information leaks regarding the names of candidates. 

In a Feb. 10 Council meeting, Councilmember Gleam Davis proposed opening an investigation into these information leaks and prior information leaks pertaining to the City Manager search. While the idea initially had a 4-3 majority of Councilmember support, it was subsequently shot down by a 3-4 yes/no vote in a Feb. 22 meeting as Councilmember Lana Negrete shifted her vote to opposing the investigation citing concerns that it would further exacerbate Councilmember divisions and distract from the City Attorney search. 

During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmembers will vote on appointing Sloan and authorizing Mayor Sue Himmelrich to execute an employment agreement with Sloan.

Clara@smdp.com