The current Board approved budget for the Office of the Clerk of the Board can cover the cost of the agreement with Aaron B. Zisser, however the Clerk of the Board is seeking additional funds at Mid –Year to recover costs associated with supporting the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations. The Office of the County Executive will be requesting additional funding at Mid – Year to cover increased legal investigative services.
Pursuant to the County’s Board Policy 188.8.131.52(D)(1)(k), contracts with law firms hired by the County to assist with legal matters are exempt from competitive procurement. In November 2015, the County entered into an agreement with Moscone Emblidge & Otis, LLP (“Moscone”) to provide legal services, at the Board’s request, with respect to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations. This firm was selected because the attorneys have unique expertise and are highly qualified to provide legal services in this particular area.
The Agreement between the County of Santa Clara and Moscone, which became effective as of November 2, 2015, and had a compensation limit of $100,000, was approved by County Counsel pursuant to a delegation of authority granted by the Board of Supervisors on February 28, 2006 (agenda item 42).
The First Amendment increases the maximum contract amount by $100,000 from $100,000 to $200,000, with no change in term or scope of work.
There is no history of agreements between the County and Aaron B. Zisser.
REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION
Reason for exception to Board Policy:
On October 6, 2015 and November 17, 2015, the Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution BOS-2015-138 establishing the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations, and Resolution BOS-2015-159 clarifying Resolution 2015-138 relating to the establishment of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations, respectively. Resolution BOS-2015-138 provides:
“…The Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations [ ] shall…2. Solicit testimony and recommendations from outside experts so as to inform and guide the work of the Commission;”
“The Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations shall be … supported by both the Office of the County Counsel and outside counsel contracted through the Office of the County Counsel.”
Reasons for approval of amendment and agreement:
Moscone Emblidge & Otis, LLP
The initial agreement with Moscone Emblidge & Otis, LLP anticipated limited investigative services as directed by the Blue Ribbon Commission. However, as the Blue Ribbon Commission met and further defined its scope of work, it directed Moscone Emblidge & Otis, LLP to interview inmates and custody personnel on a scale that was not anticipated at the outset of the Blue Ribbon Commission, and that could involve the use of multiple investigators, translators, etc. These investigative services could easily exceed the compensation limit set in the initial agreement. The First Amendment is thus required to ensure that Moscone Emblidge & Otis, LLP can be compensated for work performed at the behest of the Blue Ribbon Commission.
Aaron B. Zisser
Chair of the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations, LaDoris Cordell, has asked the County to hire attorney Aaron Zisser as an expert on the inmate grievance and complaint process. A copy of Mr. Zisser’s resume is attached to this report. Chair Cordell anticipates that Mr. Zisser will conduct a review of policies, procedures, and practices related to the inmate grievance and complaint procedures and make recommendations to the Commission based on best practices and professional standards.
The recommended action will have no/neutral impact on children and youth.
The recommended action will have no/neutral impact on seniors.
The recommended action will have no/neutral sustainability implications.
CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE ACTION
Going forward, the County would not be able to provide the Blue Ribbon Commission on Improving Custody Operations with the benefit of the expertise of Moscone Emblidge & Otis, LLP and Aaron B. Zisser.
STEPS FOLLOWING APPROVAL
The Clerk of the Board will notify Kim Forrester, Office of the County Counsel, and Chanthavy Sivongxay, Office of the Clerk of the Board, when the agreements are fully executed.