MONTEBELLO – The City Council voted 3-2 to hire J. Arnoldo Beltran as the new city attorney at a special meeting Tuesday night. City Administrator Richard Torres said he could not disclose details, including how much Beltran will be paid, until the council votes on his contract at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday. Beltran, who works at Beltran & Medina of Los Angeles, will replace interim City Attorney John Pringle. Councilman Jeff Siccama, who normally aligns his vote with Mayor Norma Lopez-Reid and Councilman Bob Bagwell, this time voted with council members Rosie Vasquez and Bill Molinari. The switch surprised Siccama’s supporters. During Siccama’s campaign, he criticized incumbent council members for awarding contracts to close friends or family members. Beltran’s cousin, Michael Beltran, worked on Siccama’s campaign, according to Jacqueline Carr of Montebello Citizens for Open Government, a local political group that supported and helped run Siccama’s 2005 council campaign. Michael Beltran also works for J. Arnoldo Beltran’s law firm, she added. “The only thing I can say is I’m shocked \ voted this way,” Carr said. “I campaigned for him, did phones for him, walked for him, and it looks like he hasn’t kept up with his promises, has he? I don’t get it.” Siccama responded by saying that “in small cities, everybody knows everybody.” “All the firms were good and very qualified, but my feeling was to go with a smaller firm like Beltran’s that could provide the service we need,” he said. “Sometimes you have to stand and make a decision that’s not necessarily popular.” Carr also cited a 1999 Los Angeles Times article that claimed J. Arnoldo Beltran used heavy-handed tactics to acquire and maintain city contracts. In the article, Beltran denied the allegations. Beltran did not return phone calls seeking comment Wednesday. Bagwell played down the concerns of Carr’s group. Although Beltran “comes with a lot of baggage,” Bagwell said Beltran will “do what was best for the city to move forward.” “He was not my choice, but we as a city have to work together,” Bagwell said. “The council has made a decision. I’m in opposition to it, but I have no problem working with people. I’m sure he’s a good attorney.” Beltran has been a city attorney in Bell Gardens, Commerce and Lynwood. He is still the city attorney for Lynwood, Siccama said. [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!