Subpoenaing Nosky and Garcia, too

City Attorney Ren Nosky confirmed this afternoon that he was among the city officials receiving subpoenas this week to appear before the City Council panel investigating the firing of Deputy City Manager Johnny Ford. A source said the committee also was expected to subpoena Human Resources Director Dianna Garcia. City Manager Gordon Palmer earlier confirmed he received one.


Garcia did not return a telephone call today for comment.


City Hall would not immediately provide copies of the subpoenas; The Record this afternoon filed a California Public Records Act request for them.


Council committees are granted by City Charter the authority to subpoena witnesses and to require the production of evidence. However, the practice is extraordinarily rare. Palmer and other administrators routinely meet with council members both publicly and in private. Council committees typically meet with staffers by request or by standing arrangement, not by subpoena and with attorneys (the officials appearing in response to a subpoena are entitled to be represented at city expense) by their side.


“I am really surprised,” said Bill Garret, a former manager of El Cajon and Corona and the executive director of the California City Management Foundation, a city manager support group.


He said, “There’s no question that this is now adversarial, and that normally does not need to happen.”


Councilman Dale Fritchen, a committee member, said the use of subpoenas was “just to make it so that everyone gets the same treatment, and I think it will help speed things up.”


Vice Mayor Kathy Miller said she does not believe the issuance of subpoenas was an attempt to make the investigation adversarial.


“I think this was the committee’s attempt to really do things by the book,” she said.

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