By an unanimous vote, Fresno County prosecutor and former political candidate Andrew Janz has been selected as the next Fresno City Attorney.
Earlier in the week Janz announced that he is stepping down from his position on the board of the Voter Protection Project, the liberal Political Action Committee that he founded following a defeat to then-Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare).
The terms of the contract were amended Thursday to include that Janz will not participate in any capacity with a PAC while serving as the city attorney.
Councilman Garry Bredefeld also asked Janz to share what he is doing to get up to speed with municipal law given his lack of experience with city government.
Janz said he has met with the city attorney’s office and senior staff at City Hall to go over available public information that is helping him prepare to take over the position.
“I would like to point out that I do have extensive criminal experience,” Janz said. “I don’t think that that is an issue in terms of my appointment. I would just like to point out that whether the issue at hand is criminal or civil in nature, that there are similar legal theories that apply across the board.”
Janz said he met individually with each councilmember and thanked them for their support.
Janz will earn $240,000 annually and also take home a $500 vehicle allowance monthly.
With the contract approved, his first day on the job will be Monday.
Community choice on the table for city’s PG&E woes
Last month Mayor Jerry Dyer, Bredefeld and several other local officials expressed an interest in the city taking over the electrical utility from Pacific Gas & Electric.
But Dyer has flipped his stance since then, saying he does not want the city to usurp PG&E and provide electricity to its residents.
Thursday, Councilman Luis Chavez brought another idea forward: community choice.
PG&E’s Community Choice Aggregation program allows cities and counties to buy or generate electricity for residents and businesses within their communities. PG&E would continue to deliver the electricity and provide meter-reading, billing, maintenance and outage response services.
Chavez had representatives from The Climate Center – a California nonprofit focused on climate and the environment – give a presentation on community choice.
Destiny Rodriguez with The Climate Center emphasized that community choice would be a partnership with PG&E, not a corporate takeover.
“The only thing that changes with this model is the source of energy and the purchasing power. That becomes the city of Fresno’s responsibility, or the joint powers authority, or the governing authority – however you decide to go,” Rodriguez said.
“And of course that’s what’s the beauty of community choice energy, is that it gives you the choice where historically we’ve never really had a choice of where our energy comes from, how we purchase it, whether it’s renewable, whether it’s not. So community choice energy really is a very innovative concept.”
The council is scheduled to consider authorizing a feasibility study into other options for providing electricity to Fresno residents outside of the current model with PG&E at its next meeting on Dec. 15.