FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz was selected as Fresno’s new city attorney in a four-to-one vote on Tuesday.
Garry Bredefeld, the lone council member who voted against Janz, said the appointment was politically motivated.
“The council majority should not have made this hire,” he said.
The search for a new city attorney has been going on since May when former city attorney Doug Sloan resigned following an incident in which council president Nelson Esparza allegedly threatened his job during a meeting.
Sloan has testified that Esparza threatened to fire him if he worked for members of the city council who were outside the democrat-led majority.
Esparza was charged with felony extortion by the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. The charge was reduced to a misdemeanor on Tuesday.
Bredefeld said he believes the appointment essentially amounts to political cronyism.
“They’re democrats. They’re political allies. The city attorney that had 17 years of experience, 30 years as an attorney…has left this building. Now we’ve replaced him with a politician,” he said.
Janz ran for congress in 2018 against then-incumbent Republican Devin Nunes. He ran for mayor in 2020 against former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. He lost both times.
In a statement, Mayor Dyer said, “I want to congratulate Andrew on his appointment as the city attorney. I wish him the best in this new role and look forward to working with him in the future.”
The District Attorney’s Office also released a statement:
“Andrew Janz has served the people of Fresno County as a Deputy District Attorney for nearly 9 years. During his time with our office, he has maintained an excellent reputation as a prosecutor and has demonstrated his superior trial advocacy skills when fighting for justice on behalf of others. He will be missed by his DA Family. I look forward to Andrew’s tenure as the City Attorney and I am confident he will bring strong leadership to the office. I am also hopeful that Andrew’s extensive knowledge of criminal law and procedure will help guide the city staff and council as we start a new year. I look forward to improving the relationship between the City Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Fresno County District Attorney. We wish Andrew the best as he enters this new role with the City of Fresno.”
We reached out to Janz and other city council members for comment but they were unavailable.