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Today is Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Originally published Saturday, January 14, 2006
Updated Saturday, January 14, 2006
Fired official talks to council
Council members have until Feb. 1 to decide on former L.A. animal services chief's request to be reinstated.

Copley News Service

Four Los Angeles City Council members began private talks Friday with the former head of the city's animal shelters, hoping to resolve the dispute created by his firing last month.

Councilman Bernard Parks arranged the meeting between his colleagues and former animal services department General Manager Guerdon Stuckey, who was removed from his post last month by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and has asked the council to reinstate him.

"I'd say we had a productive conversation," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who declined to say where the talks will head next.

The council has until Feb. 1 to decide the fate of Stuckey, who was hired by former Mayor James Hahn and became a target of a harassment campaign by animal extremists. On Friday, hours before the private meeting, more than a dozen Stuckey critics told the council that moderate animal advocates were also in favor of his removal.

"There is no shred of evidence that the mayor's termination decision was taken for political reasons," said Charlotte Laws, who serves on the Greater Valley Glen Council. "Indeed, the new mayor gave Mr. Stuckey ample time to prove his worth."

Stuckey's attorney, Edward Lear, did not return a call seeking comment. Before he was forced out, Stuckey had sought a $155,000 severance package.

Parks, a former police chief who went before the council in 2002 in an attempt to keep his job, said before the meeting that he wanted to hear Stuckey make his case.

"The main thing is to find out what he believes is fair," he said.

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