City secrecy part four

Our city attorney’s public admission that she has not enforced city council’s agenda rules in the past got me to thinking about her evidently perceived  need to protect council from the public in order to keep her job.

She has done the wrong thing.

According to the Texas Municipal League legal staff’s paper “The City Attorney:  A Reference Manual”:

“While a city attorney may report to and accept certain directions from city officials, it is the attorney’s duty to act in the best interests of the city as a whole.”

The city–that’s you and me–we are the city.

As city attorney/parliamentarian she should see to it that city council acts according to the law.

She is there as an adviser, not a participant.  It is not her place to be an advocate for or against anything on the agenda.  She is there to provide legal advice, not set policy.

She should only speak when asked to do so, unless a law or rule  is about to be violated.

Particularly inappropriate is when she chimes in to help justify some action that city staff wants to have approved.

It would be nice if she spent as much time seeing to it that the rules were followed as she seems to spend as a partisan actor.

This council needs to assert control.  Council meetings are between our elected officials, the city manager and the citizens.

The back bench is where the city attorney should sit.

We deserve better



5 Responses to City secrecy part four

  1. John, blame the culprits all you want. The real blame is US, because we don’t vote, vote as told and accept the shenanigans.

    Year after year, the same old same. People scream and scream, no one makes an effort. We had a reasonable chance with Dagda. Wasn’t perfect but at least he wanted transparency and balance a budget! Fresh new ideas.

    No offense to the candidates, but politically and platform they were Siamese twins. So just be prepared for higher taxes, waste, reckless planning and legacy building. Only this time, stfu because all of YOU did nothing,.


  2. Reality Checker says:

    She admits that she hasn’t been doing her job correctly, but she still has her job.


  3. Jerry Kurtyka says:

    It is as if the criterion to go into executive session is that someone might be embarrassed. If a city employee has dropped the ball on a project, then to talk about it constitutes a personnel evaluation and cannot be held in public. Or, if it is a contractor that a council rep backed that has screwed up, well can’t talk about that in public.

    This seems to have become the new normal in the last 10 years under a city manager form of government. I don’t recall all this secrecy back when we had a strong mayor. Of course, Wilson really did have her secrets when it came to Woody World!


  4. I don’t know, but I suspect this entire mess can still be blamed on the former City Manager, who brought so much garbage to the City, and who left so much behind. We need to dump the City Manager, and return to a strong Mayor form of government. That is, of course, if we could find an individual capable of being a strong Mayor.


    • Reality Checker says:

      The Charter Advisory Committee has been stacked to make sure that you never get to vote on going back to the strong mayor form of government. The committee includes the former city manager and the former mayor who pushed for the creation of the city manager position. They were handpicked by current members of city council. The current mayor, who said during his campaign that he would see that it got put to a vote again, has been silent on the issue ever since he took office.


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