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