Tracy City Attorney Bijal Patel still appears to be serving in her capacity following a special meeting held by the City Council Monday evening to discuss her employment, according to legal counsel for the city.
Patel was deemed ineligible to practice law in California by the Bar for a month in July and Tracy’s mayor called for her removal as City Attorney.
Mayor Nancy Young called on the community, residents, and businesses to hold accountable their city officials and demand transparency about the matter.
“I am calling on my fellow City Councilmembers to ensure the Agreement between the City and Ms. Patel remains revoked as of July 1, as per the self-executing terms of the employment agreement,” Young said in a statement.
“The Council met in closed session related to the City Attorney, there is no reportable action at this time, Ms. Patel remains the City Attorney, and direction has been provided to staff,” said Todd Amspoker during the convened open session Monday evening, whose firm is representing Tracy.
On July 1, the State Bar of California suspended Patel’s license to practice law because of her failure to comply with a minimum continuing legal education requirement.
“This is a very serious matter. A requirement to serve as city attorney and advise the City on legal matters is being a member in good standing in the State Bar,” Young said. “Here Ms. Patel’s membership was suspended. As a result, she was practicing law without a license, a violation of State Law.”
As of Tuesday, the state bar’s website shows Patel’s status as active.
Young alleged that Patel falsely presented herself as a licensed attorney by failing to notify the city about her suspended license, even if it was only inactive for a month.
She said Patel’s employment contract called for her to be immediately terminated in an event where she was unable to perform the functions of a City Attorney or if her license was suspended.
“The employment contract does not require a public hearing, formal decision or provide for a cure period,” alleged Young. “Her unlawful actions have also put the city at risk and potentially invalidates and nullifies any contracts, negotiations, and actions taken by her during the month of July.”
Information about the closed Monday meeting was not released to the public, but an agenda with limited information was released before the meeting.
No one from the city or the City Attorney’s Office responded Tuesday to a request for comment.
The agenda can be found at https://www.cityoftracy.org/home/showpublisheddocument/16114.