Quinn wins city attorney post
Staff veteran says she is honored to take over department
The City Council chose Jannie Quinn to take the reins as Mountain View's City Attorney after she did the job on an interim basis for the first half of the year.
The council approved an employment agreement with Quinn Tuesday night which includes a $215,000 base salary. In contrast, her predecessor Michael Martello was paid $235,000 in his final year. Quinn may also receive annual pay increases in return for good performance.
Council member John Inks said he supported Quinn's appointment, adding that it was a near unanimous decision on the council. He would not support her employment agreement, however, saying her salary was too high. But member Laura Macias disagreed, saying, "She's worth every penny."
"I am honored the council has appointed me," Quinn said in an e-mail. "I find being a city attorney exciting and challenging and feel very fortunate to have this opportunity."
Quinn, formerly the assistant city attorney, was appointed interim city attorney when Martello retired from the job at the end of last year. After observing her performance as interim city attorney, the council decided she was a good fit for the job on May 25 and decided to forgo the expense of searching for other candidates.
"We decided after the six months she had been doing a great job," said council member Mike Kasperzak, a trial lawyer himself for 11 years. "We did not see the need to go out and go through the expense of a search just to find a person we had who already was as good or better than everybody else."
Kasperzak described Quinn as "very conscientious, energetic and articulate. I think she has strong attention to detail and is able to explain legal terminology in lay terms. She is a good researcher" and has "good legal instincts. Those are the sorts of skills I think are important."
Kasperzak said Quinn would be able to carry on the legacy of Martello, who "was not a city attorney who was afraid to get involved in issues. There are a lot of city attorneys who are overly cautious and don't want to rock the boat."
As city attorney, Quinn will run a legal department with three other attorney positions and two code enforcement officers. Quinn says she has had an increasingly wide range of exposure to municipal law in her 14 years with the city, where she has supervised code enforcement, filled in for Martello at City Council meetings and played a role in significant legal battles, including a lawsuit with AT&T over the city's cable services.
"I'm very proud of our office," Quinn said. "I think it runs very well and I think our council is very happy with it."
Quinn has been with Mountain View since 1995, when she was hired as senior deputy city attorney. Before coming here she worked for one year with the city of San Jose and two years with the San Jose law firm Robinson and Wood, where she said her first two cases out of law school were for the city of Mountain View.
Quinn got her law degree from the University of San Diego in 1988. She lives in San Jose with her husband and two sons, ages 14 and 17.
E-mail Daniel DeBolt at email@example.com