Pleasanton hires San Luis Obispo's city attorney to replace Roush

Jonathan Lowell has extensive background in government, private sector legal work

San Luis Obispo City Attorney Jonathan Lowell, who is also the incoming president of the League of California Cities City Attorney Department, will succeed Michael Roush as City Attorney for Pleasanton starting Jan. 1, it was announced Tuesday.

The announcement by Mayor Jennifer Hosterman comes after an extensive regional search for Roush's replacement. Roush, city attorney here since 1988, officially retired early last month although he has remained at his desk on a consulting basis ever since. It's expected that he will continue to represent Pleasanton as its attorney until Lowell takes over.

Lowell has been city attorney in San Luis Obispo, a city with a population of 43,000, since 2003. At one time he was the assistant city attorney in both Livermore and Hayward and the city attorney for San Bruno. He was also in private practice with the San Francisco law firm of Curiale, Dellaverson, Hirschfield, Kraemer & Sloan.

He received his law degree from UC Hastings College of Law and holds a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley.

"After a comprehensive search to fill this vital position, we are confident that Jonathan Lowell exceeds the rigorous criteria for the position of City Attorney," Hosterman said. "He is well versed in land use issues, negotiations, CEQA (the California Environmental Quality Act) actions, and the full range of legal and administrative proceedings that we are presented with in Pleasanton."

"Jonathan brings the additional benefit of a statewide overview of the legal challenges facing California cities in his role as the incoming 2011 President of the League of California Cities City Attorney Department", she added.

In his role as Pleasanton's City Attorney, Lowell will provide advice and counsel to the City Council, City Manager Nelson Fialho and city staff. He will manage a legal department that handles the city's contractual, regulatory, and litigation matters that typically include open meeting and public records laws; conflicts of interest; land use and environmental laws; claims and litigation; municipal elections; employment and labor relations; code enforcement, and other legal matters.

Both the city manager's and city attorney's positions report directly to the City Council.

"I look forward to working with my peers in the city of Pleasanton, which has an excellent reputation as a well managed city," Lowell said in accepting the position. "I was drawn to the collaborative approach that the city takes to community issues and look forward to becoming a part of that effort."

Lowell was born and raised in Alameda County, where his parents and others in his family live. He currently resides in San Luis Obispo and plans to relocate to the area. He told the San Luis Obispo Tribune yesterday that he and his partner will be able to move closer to their elderly parents "who are all getting to where they need me close by."

Over the weekend, Lowell advised San Luis Obispo Mayor Dave Romero and the City Council of his decision to take the Pleasanton city attorney's job and that he would step down at the end of the year. Since becoming San Luis Obispo's city attorney six years ago, he has hired an entirely new office staff, including Assistant City Attorney Christine Dietrick, who is expected to apply for his position. The pay range for city attorney in San Luis Obispo is $140,000 to $175,000.

Although Lowell's starting salary in Pleasanton has not yet been disclosed, Roush's base pay as of his retirement date was $191,380.

Roush will receive a pension from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) based on his final year's base pay for each year of service to a maximum of 90 percent, which Roush will be entitled to receive. He also received a cost of living increase this year which will be added to his 2009 base pay, but accrued vacation and any other financial benefits are not part of the base pay formula that CalPERS uses.

Pleasanton will be responsible for a pension payout formula for the 21 years Roush worked for the city with the other 11 years the responsibility of the city of Vallejo, where Roush first worked.

San Luis Obispo, League of California Cities

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Like this comment
Posted by Are you sure
a resident of Apperson Ridge
on Nov 10, 2009 at 12:17 pm

I don't believe that the City is on the hook for the individual employees' pensions. They pay into PERS as a system. The think the State is on the hook for the penions. Of course if the City has a pension beyond PERS that would be different.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 10, 2009 at 12:34 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

I think the article is trying to say something about retiree medical benefits, but a City Attorney's contract may spell out different terms than what is in the following link: Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Nov 10, 2009 at 12:36 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Web Link

"The city began setting funds aside to pay for retiree medical benefits in 1990. By the end of the 2008-09 fiscal year those reserves are expected to be $48.2 million."

The City is ahead although some say their liability is only partially funded. I heard that PUSD has completely unfunded liabilities in this arena.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 10, 2009 at 9:25 pm

As much as I love Pleasanton, you would have to pay me a ton of money to leave San Luis Obispo. Such a beautiful area, the town feel is similar to Pleasanton.

Like this comment
Posted by HereWeGoAGAIN!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Dec 1, 2011 at 3:29 pm

M.Roush was forced into retirement last year after denying a civil claim that was valid. The City of Pleasanton
was supposed to pay, but figured a cover-up would work.
But it didn't. The City of Pleasantons co-conspiritor
S&S Towing (Owner Louis Chavier) was sued last year for
his aiding in Grand Theft Auto. Thats why M. Frazier
dismantled the Special Investigations Unit. Judge Hughy Walker knowingly signed a bogus search warrent to re-accertain
ILLEGAL SPYING Equipment. Only the car that the S.U.I. stoled
had an active cellular phone clandestinely placed inside.
And then who rises of his Bench to threaten and directly accuse
of a crime but... well you know who. And then instructs his
Sheriff to hold back one court-date slip in the hopes that
a non-appearance would allow for a bench warrent to be issued.
And then the whole B.S. case fell apart when TIM MARTINS P.P.D.
Officer started LYING UNDER OATH. See what happens when you back-door a Judge and he ADMITS IT IN OPEN COURT? It's a good thing that who the Judge and the S.I.U. were setting up documented everything.
So while M. Roush works case files out of Stockton... don't ask
who put his Chump-ass there. Yes this is something for
The Committee on Judicial Performance to hear, P. weekly.
Looks like the cocksuckery didn't end with Judge Hyde's
sorry ass. But did one better. Because I could't trust people
like W. Petzel who tried to help Louis Chavier out the collusion.
I attribute that to Chaviers KNOWN AFFILIATIONS. So now the U.S.
Supreme Court is going to take away the Cellular Phone evesdropping,
so called GPS trackers from ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT. So cheers,
Pleasanton Weekly! You should be so privied to such information.
I mean,... you shouldn't be the last to know the good
N.orth E.ast W.est S.outh

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