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Attorney’s contract favors self above city

Editor,

The citizens of Polson have a reasonable expectation that city employees work for the best interests of the city. The kerfuffle regarding impact fees resulting from the discovery that the city attorney did not pay them and failed to pay his building permit fees in a timely manner, has led some to question that expectation. The badly flawed ordinance No. 624, written by Mr. Raymond in 2007, is now being re-written by him.

The city attorney’s contract should be understood by the citizens who pay for his service. At the June 18 council meeting, the council can either notify Raymond that the contract will not be renewed in July of 2013 or it will automatically be renewed for an additional two-year term.

In the existing contract, the attorney must be given 12 months notice or be paid $43,200 in severance pay for his part-time employment. Interestingly in paragraph nine of the contract, “Raymond may terminate this agreement with the city by directing written notice of termination to the city by certified or registered mail.”

Apparently, no notice to the city is required from him.

When asked about what appeared to be a contract favoring the interests of the city attorney over the interests of the city, on June 6, 2011, the city manager responded because it was what the attorney wanted.

In section eight of the contract, the city gives up the option of terminating the contract within one year following the seating of one or more new council members unless the city pays $43,200 in severance. When questioned about this condition, the manager wrote that this was to avoid any political influence on the continued service of this attorney. That is what elections are for: to decide policy and in some cases personnel decisions.

If you think the current contract favors an employee over the city’s interests, please call your council representative or sign a petition that former council member Judy Preston (406-239-4576) is circulating. All council members except Dan Morrison have listed numbers. Please express your opinion before June 18.

Bob Fulton
Polson

 

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