Wednesday, January 16, 2008

City Council to Downsize One Attorney

Councilman Tom Didier started this week's city council meeting by asking for nominations for the city council research legislative assistant and council attorneys. He also said he wanted to make it easier than last week and apologized for the "flow" of last week's meeting. Councilman Tim Pape immediately piped up and asked if those decisions had already been made via closed Republican caucus and Didier said they had not. He stated the only thing he did was to "discuss the aspects of going with one attorney versus having two". Pape then wanted to talk about the decision to go with only one council attorney and Didier said the council should go into executive (closed) session to discuss those matters.

Seeing how council attorney Joe Bonahoom was at the meeting and councilman Tom Smith nominated him before Pape's interjection, it's quite clear that the Republican councilmembers want to drop Phil Larmore as council attorney. While it's unclear to me exactly why the Republicans have chosen to do this, I have had a few different sources give me their reasons/speculation:
  1. The other attorney Joe Bonahoom was doing most of the work anyway so there is no point to keep Larmore on.

  2. Larmore is a good friend of Don Schmidt and that's the only reason he was chosen. Now that Schmidt is gone, Larmore is gone as well.

  3. Having two attorneys causes continuity problems with the council because only one attorney is present at each meeting and so they don't both hear all the relevant information.

I have also been told that the decision to drop Larmore has already been made and the executive session (something the council has rarely used) is simply a tool for the Republican majority to cover up that fact. However, I cannot confirm that so if any of you around city hall have any information and/or evidence of that then feel free to drop me an e-mail...

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