Suit challenging Bell’s hiring is appealed

Was it legal for the three-man majority on the Butte County Board of Supervisors to hire Sacramento lawyer Chuck Bell to represent them in their lawsuit against County Clerk Candace Grubbs?

Superior Court Judge Roger Gilbert has said it was, in a ruling issued at the same time that he ruled against the board’s ill-fated redistricting scheme. But the citizens who brought the suit charging that a “supermajority” was needed to hire outside counsel have decided to appeal in the 3rd District Court of Appeals.

Chico Attorney Richard Crabtree, who filed the original lawsuit, Faith vs. Bell, said his clients are appealing the case to establish a precedent and to let the board know “that the rules apply to you and you need to follow the rules.”

The rule in question is California Government Code 25203, which states, “… by a two-thirds vote of all the members, the board may employ counsel to assist the district attorney, county counsel, or other counsel for the county or entity in the conduct of [legal] actions.” There are five supervisors, so a two-thirds majority would require four votes.

Nothing will happen on the appeal for a couple of months, and the redistricting issue seems to be on the back burner for now. But, said Crabtree, “They still have to deal with redistricting. Who knows? The pattern could repeat itself.”

Wouldn’t that be a hoot?