Guerdon H. Stuckey, fired by the mayor last week as general manager of the city Animal Services Department, plans to ask the Los Angeles City Council to reinstate him or at least give him a severance package, his attorney said Monday.
Stuckey's attorney, Edward Lear, would not disclose how much of a severance package he is seeking, but two high-level City Hall sources said the ousted manager wants at least 11 months worth of salary plus moving expenses, or about $155,000.
Reached at home Monday, Stuckey refused to comment.
Lear said he sent a letter of demand outlining a severance request to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last week before the mayor replaced Stuckey on Thursday as general manager.
"We are filing an appeal," Lear said.
He noted that it takes 10 votes of the 15-member City Council to overturn the firing of a general manager, but only eight votes to approve a severance payment.
Council President Alex Padilla said he would withhold judgment on any appeal. "I'd have to really wait to see the letter," he said.
Council aides familiar with behind-the-scene discussions, however, said it appears unlikely the council will overturn Villaraigosa's decision to fire Stuckey. "There doesn't seem to be much support for it," said one aide, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.
Stuckey told his staff last Tuesday that Villaraigosa had asked him to resign. When he didn't, the mayor fired him and replaced him with Ed Boks, who held a similar job in New York City. Boks is set to start Jan. 3.
Although animal rights activists had picketed outside the mayor's home and at his public appearances, Villaraigosa said last week that his decision to remove Stuckey was "based on performance."
Stuckey's contract with the city did not require a severance payment if he were fired, but one official noted that neither did the contract of former Police Chief Willie Williams.
Williams agreed in 1997 to leave his post early after getting a $375,000 severance package approved by the City Council.
Lear declined to discuss what argument he would make to the City Council in the appeal for Stuckey to be reinstated or to receive a severance payment.
Stuckey held the job for only one year, having been appointed by former Mayor James K. Hahn in November 2004. He had extensive government management experience, but none with animal control.
The firing drew objections from 149 Animal Services employees -- half the department -- who said the mayor was giving in to "terrorists," animal rights extremists who had threatened department employees and set off a smoke bomb outside Stuckey's condominium.
"We do not need another general manager," the workers wrote. "The one we have has stood up to the terrorists, focused the department, provided leadership and passion for saving animals' lives."