In its council session on Tuesday evening, the Salida City Council unanimously repealed the scope of work written and adopted in 2016 for the city attorney. Resolution 2019-30 largely cleans up the paperwork. A contract is already in place already for the current City Attorney Geoff Wilson that presents a current scope of work.
“After going back through some of work tasks [city council] had provided to us back in February during a work session … and knowing that there was a suspension of the original scope of work that was done back in 2016 by the council, as well as a new scope developed when the [current] contract was approved for the city attorney’s office, we felt that … really we weren’t using it,” said City Administrator Drew Nelson. “It became kind of unnecessary for us to have on the books … but we do recommend adopting the resolution to rescind the prior resolution.”
Citizen comment regarding the decision largely echoed the council’s action.
“That was a complete waste of taxpayer money when it was originally drafted,” said Jim Miller. “It allowed a lot of abuse of the members of the city council and certain members of the public. And I’m really glad that you’re finally going to clean that up. And that was by the prior administration, not this particular council.”
Council members spoke out in support of the repeal, reminding the public that along with escalating costs, the previous city attorney actually set out to investigate, not just members of the public, at least two council members: Eileen Rodgers and Cheryl Brown-Kovacic.
“I’m really glad to see this brought before us tonight,” said City Council Member Dan Shore. “As I see it, the city attorney’s primary functions would be to keep the city out of legal trouble, to follow the direction of the mayor and council, and to keep the mayor and council apprised of any potential legal issues. And while I believe it’s a good idea for the employee that the scope of work is written [and] to be able to provide input on it, that no way shape or form should mean that person would be running the show and controlling how it plays out.”
“With that said, when I went to a council meeting prior to my coming on board … specifically, they were addressing the scope of work for the city … I found it really uncomfortable that the city attorney was directing that discussion,” added Shore. “I questioned whether the city would have experienced and incurred the legal costs that it did incur and whether we would have seen not only private citizens, but also certain members of the council where private investigations were launched into them at taxpayer expense. I just think that this approach is going to provide the checks and balances so that type of stuff doesn’t happen going forward.”
The city attorney scope of work is one of four scopes-of-work documents that was amended in 2016. The city administrator, mayor’s and mayor pro-tem scope of works were also revised under the previous city council.
“I would also urge you to revamp the city administrator’s scope of work and the mayor’s and mayor pro-tem’s because both those documents need some work in my opinion,” said Miller.