Government and Public Retirement Law

California State Seal Sacramanto, California, Usa
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Olson Remcho represents state and local public agencies through litigation, representation in administrative actions, and advice on a wide range of matters.

Our attorneys have expertise in state and local open meeting laws, the state and local budget matters, city or county charters and state preemption issues,, the Public Records Act, conflicts of interest, and the California Administrative Procedure Act.

We represent state and local public agencies through litigation, representation in administrative actions, and advice on a wide range of matters.

.The firm also advises government clients on  election-related issues, including compliance with state Elections Code requirements.  We have drafted or updated campaign finance ordinances for cities and special districts. The firm has nationally recognized expertise in advising on the appropriate use of public funds when communicating with the public regarding ballot measures.

Our attorneys also advise government entities and officials who must comply with open meeting and public records laws.  We have successfully defended several local government entities in litigation  brought to challenge their compliance with these complex laws.

Conflicts of Interest and Ethics

Attorneys at Olson Remcho assist local, state, and federal officeholders and employees in understanding and complying with the complex laws governing conflicts of interest, including gift and honoraria restrictions and revolving door laws.  We also assist in preparing financial disclosure statements and advise parties who do business with public agencies in how to operate within the requirements of those laws and regulations.

In order to help our clients properly address these issues before they arise, we develop and present seminars on the subjects of ethics and conflicts of interest for local and state officials.  We have conducted ethics training for the State Legislature, the Governor’s staff, counties, and state agencies.

Our Conflicts of Interest and Ethics Services include:

  • Consulting on all aspects of compliance with ethics and conflict of interest law, including limitations and prohibitions on gifts and honoraria and revolving door restrictions
  • Advising parties that do business with public agencies and public officials on how the law affects them
  • Counseling public agencies and public officials on conflict of interest requirements, including disclosure and disqualification matters
  • Preparing financial disclosure statements for federal, state and local candidates, and elected and appointed officials
  • Soliciting opinions and formal advice from the California Fair Political Practices Commission that confer limited immunity from prosecution
  • Advising private consultants and public agencies on potential disclosure and disqualification issues
  • Advising former public officials on “revolving door” requirements
  • Advising public officials and contributors on the potential disqualifying consequences of receiving and making campaign contributions
  • Representing clients who are subject to investigation or enforcement actions by regulatory agencies

Public Retirement Law

The Public Retirement Law practice at Olson Remcho is dedicated to providing cutting edge legal advice, representation and consulting services to California’s state and local public retirement systems.  Headed by Christopher W. Waddell, former General Counsel of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, together with firm attorneys with exceptional expertise in government law issues and litigation, the practice offers the following services:

  • Rendering legal advice on fiduciary and plan administration issues as well as responsibilities under applicable conflicts of interest, public meeting and public records laws.
  • Litigation in areas such as actuarial and funding disputes as well as independence issues arising under Proposition 162.
  • Consulting and training in the above areas as well as pension fund governance best practices, including the development of board policy and practice in areas such as committee structure, board member education and responsibilities, ethics policies audit committee role and structure, and securities litigation.
  • Counseling on all aspects of compliance, including reporting, disclosure and disqualification requirements, under: (1) ethics and conflicts of interest laws, (2) limitations and prohibitions on gifts and honoraria, as well as (3) revolving door restrictions.
  • Representing clients who are subject to investigation or enforcement actions by regulatory agencies

Our Public Retirement Law experience includes:

  • Successful representation of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System in recovering $500 million of wrongfully withheld retirement fund contributions from the State of California in Teachers’ Retirement Board v. Genest (2007) 154 Cal. App. 4th 1012.
  • Providing advice to California public retirement systems on the Public Records Act, independence issues, and conflicts of interest laws and policies.
  • Providing training to public retirement systems on compliance with state open meetings acts.
  • Providing advice to former public officers on the applicability of revolving door provisions.

Representative Cases – Government Law

Martinez v. City of Watsonville, Santa Cruz County Superior Court, No. CV169473 (2012). Successfully argued on behalf of the City of Watsonville that city council “vacancy” under city charter occurred upon submission of letter of resignation rather than on relinquishment of office.

Vargas v. City of Salinas, 46 Cal.4th 1 (2009).  Filed amicus curiae brief on behalf of the League of California Cities and California State Association of Counties in case defending the rights of local governments to expend public funds informing citizens of the effects of upcoming ballot measures.

Mendoza, et al. v. State of California, 149 Cal.App.4th 1034 (2007). Successful challenge to State legislation transferring control of the Los Angeles Unified School District to the Mayor.

People ex rel. Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights v. Duque, 105 Cal. App. 4th 259 (2003).  Won reversal of trial court ruling that would have required a commissioner of the Public Utilities Commission to forfeit his office on the basis of a conflict of interest. 

Kleitman v. Superior Court, 74 Cal.App.4th 324 (1999).  Successful defense of City Council’s right to maintain confidentiality of closed session deliberations.

California Standardbred Sires Stakes Committee v. California Horse Racing Board, 231 Cal.App.3d 751 (1991).  Litigation of alleged conflict-of-interest violations.