City attorney throws a balk

Our city attorney has rejected two ethics complaints related to the serial council meetings that appear to have been held in violation of state law.

Our city ethics ordinance requires the city attorney to take one of four actions within twenty days after a complaint is filed:

  1. Refer the matter to the ethics review commission if the complaint meets the necessary requirements.
  2. In the event of deficiencies the city attorney “may” notify the complainant and request correction.
  3. Dismiss the complaint if the matter would not violate the ethics ordinance.
  4. “Refer complaints that cannot be readily assigned to the ethics review commission because of deficiencies, complaints that lack specificity in identifying the alleged violations of this chapter, and complaints that appear to have been frivolously filed to a panel of the commission.”

According to a recent Times article the city attorney wrote two letters that say the complainant  “failed to identify a specific section of the ethics ordinance you believe has been violated.”

See number four above.

She also did not act within twenty days as the ordinance requires.

New complaints can be submitted that would make the city attorney’s action moot.


Here the city attorney could have chosen to do the right thing and follow the actions required in number four above.  Instead she has chosen to setup a road block.  She does after all work for council.

It would appear that she chose to try to protect her bosses instead of obeying the law.

We deserve better



10 Responses to City attorney throws a balk

  1. mamboman3 says:

    Does that mean she did #3 Dismiss the complaint?


  2. On organizational charts perhaps the Mayor and Council are “her bosses,” but in reality, she and the city manager call the shots. The City of El Paso should take steps to contract out the entire city attorney function to lawyers in the community as they need legal counsel. The City Attorney has learned that she has to do less work and her position is safer if she can prevent action and movement. This is not because she is evil but because this is what lawyers who become government employees do if they stay in a job too long.


    • JerryK says:

      to contract out the entire city attorney function to lawyers in the community
      This was pretty much done in Joe Wardy’s administration. There was a regular gravy train of cash going to Mounce Greene for outsourced legal work, and several of the CA staff were fired. I’m not sure this would have solved the problem, however, as the same conflicts of interest existed at the top level.

      The problem is the CA not doing her duty for whatever reasons.


  3. Tiny, little nit to pick. A “balk” is not thrown. A balk means that the pitcher made a motion to throw without actually releasing the ball. Therefore, the proper of the term might be simply to say that the City Attorney “balks at taking action.”

    Liked by 1 person

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