The City Council may not be buying it.
But Mayor Bob Filner isn't about to stop selling the idea that the city attorney's budget needs trimming.
In a monthly, on-the-record ‘availability’ with the news media during the noon hour Thursday, Filner rejected criticism that political spite is behind his call for a 3 percent cut in Jan Goldsmith's office spending as of July 1st.
Filner said his concern is fiscal accountability – and that he stands by his recommendation for reductions that would eliminate 13 positions from the city attorney’s staff.
He then challenged the glowing assessment Goldsmith gave the City Council Wednesday about his office's performance.
"All I've seen in recent months since I've been there are losses in court -- in fact, lectures from the judge on how incompetent the representation has been," the mayor told reporters. "I haven't seen the kind of high-quality efficiency that's being claimed.”
Filner broke his media silence about last month’s accusations by Goldsmith's executive assistant, Andrew Jones, that Filner told him to "go sit in the back of the room" during a closed-door session with the City Council -- a remark Jones felt had racial implications.
The mayor denied saying that, insisting he said, quote: "Sit down until you're recognized ..." – meaning, before taking the microphone.
Filner also dismissed Goldsmith's apparent concerns that Filner's legal adviser, attorney Lee Burdick, has been practicing law in technical violation of the City Charter.
He said the city attorney “makes too many mistakes” to trust his opinion alone: "He's interfering in the policy-making of the city, rather than being the legal adviser to the city … I think he's overstepped the line."
Goldsmith did not immediately reply to NBC 7’s request for a response to Filner's remarks, perhaps deciding not to dignify them with a response.
He told the Council Wednesday that he believes his relationship with the mayor could still "evolve" into something workable.