Fresno City Attorney Jim Sanchez resigns

October 18, 2012 12:02:31 AM PDT
Fresno City Attorney Jim Sanchez has resigned in order to pursue a similar opportunity in Sacramento. Sanchez said the decision to leave his hometown of Fresno came with mixed emotions but said he remains committed to public service and helping elected officials. "The opportunity in Sacramento just provides a bigger stage at the state capitol level. And at this point in my career, it just seems to be a very good fit for me," said Sanchez.

For the past six years, Sanchez has been present at Fresno's city council meetings, advising council members of their legal options. The job of city attorney also comes with many other responsibilities, including defending the city against litigation. Fresno has seen its share of lawsuits. Sanchez said he still believes settling a lawsuit brought on by two Fresno Deputy Police Chiefs against Chief Jerry Dyer was a smart move. He also believes lessons have also been learned from other lawsuits dealing with homeless encampments. "As long as we take their property and we store it for a reasonable period of time, the city still has the ability to address the public health and safety threats presented by those encampments," said Sanchez.

Sanchez began his career with the City of Fresno in 1984. He left for a brief period to serve as city attorney in Salinas and took over as Fresno's top attorney in 2006.

Wednesday, Fresno City Council President Clint Olivier called Sanchez an asset to the city and also acknowledged the challenges he's faced recently. "That person is accountable to the council, works for the council, yet also has to provide legal services to the administration and our mayor. It prevents a real challenge and whoever comes in is going to have to be able to walk that line of friendly tension between the branches of government," said Olivier.

Under the city charter, the city council has the sole authority in appointing the city manager. In the coming weeks, they will determine how to proceed with the search for Sanchez's replacement. Once confirmed by Sacramento council members, he'll begin work there on December 1.