There seems to be a lot of confusion swirling around about Measure 3-552. Here is what I know:
Measure 3-552 is the opposite of the last attorney services measure that 64.2% of West Linn voters rejected two years ago. That was measure 3-524 and had it been approved, the "Hybrid Model of Attorney Services" would have been permanently incorporated into our City Charter.
I am not surprised — 9 out of 10 citizens that I heard testify at Council meetings two years ago were strongly in favor of restoring Section 8(f) and getting rid of the hybrid.
Councilor Rich Sakelik and I openly opposed that measure because it went against our campaign promises to "Restore the City Charter."
The "Hybrid Model" was completely unknown to Oregon City governance until it came into play in West Linn, right before the controversial Lake Oswego/ Tigard Water Treatment Plant (LOT) hearings began.
In 2012, former City Manager Chris Jordan convinced the Council to let him hire his own separate attorney even though Charter Section 8 (f) required Council to hire all legal advisors. Soon, according to Jordan, his "assistant" city attorney provided nearly all legal advice for the City, over 95%...which lead to the unpopular LOT decisions and "Red Tape Code Changes" that limited citizen involvement in land use. Six years of two separate attorney services proved to be terribly expensive, too complicated and offers no accountability for the City Manager's side of attorney services because citizens and City Councilors can only see what the City Attorney bills for.
Longtime voters will likely recall that Brenda Perry, Russ Axelrod, Bob Martin, Rich Sakelik and I each promised to "Restore the City Charter and Change the Culture at City Hall" when we ran for office. I can't explain why some turned away from those promises and others stood firm.
But this I know: Measure 3-552 was placed on the ballot for the sake of those who rejected the "Hybrid" two years ago. This is our chance to finally restore the purpose and intent of Section 8(f), which was covertly removed by Chris Jordan's Measure 3-429 in 2013.
This will allow our City to return to its traditional form of governance wherein the City Manager takes care of day-to day operations in concert with the City Attorney and might sometimes also need to work with an alternate attorney, hired by Council.
This is how West Linn functioned before the "Hybrid" and it is how most other City Manager/Council cities like ours normally function.
Please Vote YES on Measure 3-552.
Teri Cummings is president of the West Linn City Council.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.