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  Quintero Calls it Quits
April 23, 2005

Embattled and tormented for months by her boss and an unsympathetic City Council, Assistant City Attorney Adrianna Quintero closed one chapter of her employment saga with the City of Richmond by resigning earlier this week. Until then, she was being paid on a full-time basis not to work, which doesn’t seem particularly smart for a cash-strapped city and an interim city attorney who complains chronically about not having enough help.

The City Attorney’s Office, with the consent of the City Council, will now move to hire one or more attorneys on a contract basis at a cost of at least 60% more than Quintero was getting paid.

Quintero was hired by former City Attorney Malcolm Hunter several years ago and built a reputation for tough and successful prosecution of zoning and nuisance code scofflaws and for closing drug houses while collecting significant fines and court costs for the City. She has never had an adverse performance review.

Richmond has a long reputation for forcing out some its highest motivated and resourceful employees, possibly because they expose the embarrassing mediocrity of some of those who remain. Let’s hope that the Quintero incident will mark the last of these, and that under new leadership, the best attributes of Richmond’s many superlative employees will be recognized and valued.

Word has it that Quintero has taken a job with a private sector law firm, Black, Brown, Lanier & Jackson of El Cerrito, where the work ethic is presumably appreciated.

An article from today’s West County Times follows:

Richmond attorney quits post
Posted on Sat, Apr. 23, 2005


An assistant city attorney lauded last fall for fighting neighborhood blight has resigned under pressure, according to a letter she wrote this week to city officials.

"The city's aggravated and continuous pattern of harassment and retaliation leaves me with no reasonable alternative except to resign against my will," wrote assistant city attorney Adriana Quintero in an April 19 letter to human resources director Leslie Knight.

Her resignation was effective Friday, the letter said.

Quintero went on medical leave Dec. 28 because of work-related stress, according to the letter. She filed a federal discrimination complaint in February, claiming city officials retaliated against her for testifying on behalf of a co-worker during the internal investigation of a workplace harassment complaint.

On Sept. 29, Quintero filed her own grievance against Acting City Attorney Everett Jenkins. In her recent letter, she claims he retaliated against her, but does not specify how.

The next day, Jenkins hired a contract attorney, Trish Aljoe, saying she would handle legal matters relating to the Port of Richmond and to take on some of code enforcement and blight abatement cases that Quintero usually handled.

"On October 1, 2004, Everett Jenkins ordered me to train Ms. Aljoe to take over my duties and to transfer all of my files to her," Quintero wrote. "Mr. Jenkins essentially stripped me of my job responsibilities and relegated me to legal secretarial work."

Jenkins on Friday acknowledged the city's receipt of Quintero's resignation but declined comment on her complaints, saying they were personnel matters.

Quintero filed a complaint Feb. 1 against the city with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the same month she queried the State Bar of California about whether she had an ethical obligation to report Jenkins for allegedly lying to a client.

A complaint along the same lines had already been filed with the state bar by the Richmond Police Commission.

Quintero returned to work March 21, while the city attorney's office negotiated with her attorney about settling her federal complaint. Jenkins suspended her for two weeks without pay March 29 because she rejected an offer, according to the letter.

City leaders praised Quintero last fall for her aggressive approach to settling complaints against the owners of drug houses and other blighted property.

Her attorney, Gary Gwilliam, said Friday that his client would continue talks with the city to resolve Quintero's federal complaint, and that his client has no immediate plans to sue.


Reach Karl Fischer at 510-262-2728 or kfischer@cctimes.com.