Measure protects citizens' interests
Measure 3-552 asks the voters to consider clarifications on the reporting structure for the Chief Legal Officer. Two positions report to the City Council — one is the City Manager and the other is the Chief Legal Officer.
The time-honored and traditional approach to separation of powers in the judicial, legislative and executive branches will be restored with this measure.
The previous City Manager funded an assistant City Attorney position that reported directly to him. Thus, the City had two attorneys on the payroll, which increased costs.
Under the proposed charter language, there will be no change in the City Manager's ability to seek legal counsel.
Instead legal services will be supervised by the Chief Legal Officer. The measure restores the previous language to keep legal service costs under the control of the council, instead of allowing them to spiral out of control.
Once fully ratified, the legal structure creates an opportunity for the City Manager to reduce legal costs by using a risk management approach to operations and provides a check and balance system city councilors can use to control costs.
This ensures that best practices are used to manage legal services, while lowering costs. It also prevents the City Manager from hiring a separate attorney, unless the City Council approves it.
The council has been working to ensure that West Linn residents receive legal services that are comprehensive through a team of subject matter experts.
In addition, the current council has ensured that Council Goals, Rules and Professional Services align with the best use of public funding practices, and we have held extended meetings to ensure that the decision-making process is transparent, inclusive and preserves citizen values.
West Linn deserves nothing less. Don't be fooled by those who seek to misinform the public about the measure. There are complex legal matters on the horizon that have to deal with land-use issues, transportation issues, utility and water-right issues, so a legal team of subject matter experts will ensure that West Linn receives the best legal advice to protect our interests.
Bad land-use decisions, poor zoning structure, and lack of citizen input are the result of the legal structure put in place by the previous City Manager.
Your "yes" vote is needed to restore the balance of powers. Please take the time to join me in standing up for our community's interests. A "Yes" on Measure 3-552 protects and serves the residents of West Linn.
William Relyea is a West Linn City Councilor and an attorney.
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