Charter amendment likley to be costly for City
Over the summer I learned that the West Linn City Council voted to place a measure (3-552) on the November ballot. I became irritated to learn a split city council pushed this measure as a special election, at a significant cost to West Linn's taxpayers. This decision was not unanimously made by the council, as Mayor Axelrod and Councilor Walters were opposed.
Being a longtime member of this community and having seen our current city council struggle with decision making and division over the past couple of years, I became involved with forming the PAC, Citizens For West Linn Future. It is time that West Linn's citizens have an organization that helps provide transparency on local issues and stands up for political decision making that benefits the entire community.
Voting no on measure 3-552 this November is the first way that this community and this PAC can prevent unnecessary and costly leadership decisions from being made.
So why no on 3-552?
The measure is actually unnecessary. The city council already has authority to hire their own attorney, they don't need this measure to hire legal advisors and attorneys.
It could and probably would be hugely expensive for the city. Making every legal position of the city attorney subject to approval of the city council could delay important decsion making on behalf of our city manager and would affect smooth running city departments and the services they provide.
It creates an imbalance of power in our city charter which could be misused or result in unintended cosequences. Historically, West Linn had a staff attorney who worked at the direction of the city manager and could advise on multiple department issues, HR issues, and union negotiations for city employees. These are issues that should be handled by an experienced city manager, not elected officials. This measure sets a dangerous precedent by removing the checks and balances for the city manager to do what she/he is hired to do, manage the city.
City councilors are elected officials who are supposed to represent all West Linn citizens. If much of their limited meeting time is spent weighing legal matters that should be overseen by city staff, where do citizens come in? I am for West Linn and voting no on measure 3-552.
Elizabeth Smolens is co-director for Citizens For West Linn Future
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