Sunnyvale snaps up Martello
Former Mountain View city attorney will be interim city manager
Just as Los Gatos did after his retirement in 2009, Sunnyvale is hiring Michael Martello, Mountain View's former city attorney, as interim city attorney.
After a tense discussion April 24, the Sunnyvale City Council voted 6-1 in favor of Martello, with member Pat Meyering opposed. Meyering complained that the city did not have an open recruitment process and the $25,000-a-month salary is too high.
Council member Jim Griffith defended the proposal.
"I can't tell me how many times I was told you'd be a fool not to hire this guy," said Griffith. "I would love to be able to hire this guy for half the salary but that's not an option in this market."
Martello served Mountain View for 16 years, winning several major lawsuits, including a settlement for over $10 million with operators of Shoreline Amphitheater. He was widely praised by city staff and council members for empowering them and providing a sense of confidence about the city's ability to defend itself in court. He is now working for the law firm Thomas Whitelaw, which has a contract with Sunnyvale.
Mayor Anthony Spitaleri was moved to interrupt two critics of the motion to hire Martello. Activist Tap Merrick brought up Martello's affair in 2003 with the head of Mountain View's garbage contractor, saying the council should be concerned about "people with weak moral values concerning their zipper," — to which mayor Anthony Spitaleri said, "I'm going to have to ask you to be a little more civil with your comments. We don't need to hear anything about zippers."
Meyering said the affair was "100 percent relevant" because city staff were unaware of the nature of Martello's affair at one point.
"Only one individual was interviewed," Meyering said, also noting that the job was not posted online. "This individual was picked out ahead of time (and) it was made sure there was no competition."
Spitaleri stopped Meyering to call a point of order:
"You're making accusations that are not substantiated," Spitaleri said. "You are basically saying this was a done deal before we even had a chance to talk about it."
Griffith defended the quick recruitment. "There is a significant difference between making an appointment to a permanent position and making an appointment to an interim position."
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