Curses — Doyle’d Again!

Just when it looked as though the San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle had recovered from last year’s Cisco contract fiasco, he’s now caught in the city’s Norcal Waste Systems scandal. Last week’s explosive report from Dechert partner Chris Scott Graham — hired by the city in September to conduct an independent investigation — concluded that Mayor Ron Gonzales “misled the public and the City Council? when he brokered a secret $11.25 million deal with San Jose’s garbage company in 2000.

Doyle has been criticized for not doing enough to warn the Council against the trash company’s multimillion-dollar contract, but why couldn’t anyone on the Council do their own detective work? It would have saved the city a whole lot of bad press, not to mention the $100,000 earmarked for the Dechert report.

Doyle is being labeled the scapegoat by some, while others grumble that he’s the mayor’s loyal right-hand man who stayed quiet when he shouldn’t have. “Rick Doyle is just a ‘yes man.’ … He wants to get along with everyone,? said one South Bay attorney. “He’s not going to cross the mayor or anyone who he thinks is buttering his toast.?

Some councilmembers are demanding Doyle make a public apology, while others say he’s got nothing to be sorry about. The situation’s “uncomfortable,? Doyle acknowledged over the phone Friday. But, he added, he’s not “necessarily worried? about losing his job over this. Asked if he planned to apologize at Tuesday’s Council meeting, Doyle said we’d have to wait and see. He said he planned to make some sort of statement about the Norcal affair on Tuesday.

But then, maybe he won’t have to apologize — Gonzales hasn’t stopped saying “sorry? since the investigator’s report was released last Tuesday.

— Julie O’Shea

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