first_imgTrying to end months of controversy, the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a 12-week, $50,000 consulting contract for fired Animal Services chief Guerdon Stuckey, who plans to drop a challenge to his termination. The 9-3 vote came over protests that the action set an unfavorable precedent and undercut the mayor’s power to hire and fire city managers. Animal activists also accused the council of rewarding Stuckey despite continuing problems within the department. “Mr. Stuckey knew he was an at-will employee,” Councilman Bill Rosendahl said. “This is simply a nuisance thing to avoid a lawsuit.” Stuckey, who was appointed by former Mayor James Hahn, was fired by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Dec. 15. He appealed, asking the council to reinstate him to his $154,000-a-year job and threatening a lawsuit alleging wrongful termination. Under the terms of the contract, Stuckey will be paid $20,000 when a work program is developed, another $20,000 in 30 days and the $10,000 balance when he turns in his final report. “We think he has the special experience on community outreach that will help us,” Miller said. “If the city is to have a successful no-kill policy at its shelters, it will be critical that our spay-and-neuter and animal adoption programs work well.” Councilmen Dennis Zine and Jack Weiss disagreed. “What if you just get a one- or two-line report and that’s it?” Zine asked. “We’ll have paid the money and we’ll be stuck.” Zine, who also was a member of the Elected Charter Reform Commission that gave the mayor broad powers, said he is concerned about the precedent in not backing Villaraigosa’s firing of Stuckey. “When we say a general manager serves at the will of the mayor, we should live with it,” Zine said. “I’m concerned about the precedent this will set if the mayor decides he wants to replace other general managers.” Weiss also said Stuckey should have known the risks of a political appointment. “All the legal advice we have received says we have done things properly,” Weiss said. “Mr. Stuckey knew he was an at-will employee and could be replaced if a new mayor was elected.” While Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilman Tony Cardenas said they believed Stuckey could provide valuable work to the city and deserved the consulting contract, Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates opposed the move. “I can’t imagine what he could honestly consult the city about,” Cummins said. “He did a poor job as general manager and he refused to follow the orders of the commissioner and the mayor.” Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card However, as part of the agreement for the consultant contract, Stuckey is dropping his appeal and the lawsuit threat. Efforts to reach Stuckey or his attorney Tuesday were unsuccessful. Joe Ramallo, a spokesman for Villaraigosa, said the mayor appreciated the council’s action to uphold his decision to fire Stuckey. “The mayor recognizes he has no say in what the council decides as far as a contract, but he is pleased with the overall outcome,” Ramallo said. Stuckey will report to Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller, who said Stuckey will be asked to report on ways to promote animal adoptions and spay-and-neuter programs. last_img read more