To: Mayor and BOA
From: C. Paul Smith
Re: Attorneys for BOA
Date March 20, 2006
I have several initial thoughts on this.
1. I am reluctant to vote to increase the City’s budget to get an attorney’s assistance.
2. While on the one hand, the BOA is one legal entity, on the other hand, the BOA is composed of five separate individuals with, conceivably, five different points of view. Thus, getting one attorney to advise the BOA is not much more help than the current situation where the City attorneys are available to give some assistance.
3. From the point of view of the City attorneys, they must always determine who it is that they represent. Then, in the event they find a conflict or even a potential conflict between their client and a prospective client, they must refuse to give counsel to the prospective client. Thus, there will regularly be potential conflicts when the City attorneys are asked for advice from both the Mayor and any alderman when the positions of the two are at odds. Therefore, under the current system, I would expect that Saundra and her staff would be willing to help individual Aldermen when they can, until a potential conflict develops.
If one of the City attorneys were designated to advise the Aldermen, this would not really be a good solution because there could be five conflicting positions among the Aldermen. What this means is that it would be expensive–too expensive, I believe, for the City to provide a staff attorney for the Aldermen.
A more reasonable approach would be to provide that each Alderman has a budgeted fund for legal services. However, as I stated at the outset, I do not wish to vote to increase the budget to accomplish this.
This leaves me in the position that I would like to continue with the present situation, where I have found the City Attorney’s office to be willing to help whenever it can.