City Council Questions Appointment, Administrator Issue Remains In Limbo

The appointment of a city prosecutor, the paving of a street by a private citizen and a closed session  discussion of the city administrator situation topped the agenda at Monday’s city council meeting.
Despite a nearly hour long executive session to discuss personnel, the employment status of City Administrator Brent Lewis remains in limbo.
Lewis was not present at the meeting and remains on paid administrative leave.
The council emerged from executive session at 7:45 p.m.  Councilman Griess made a motion to continue the discussion of personnel-Brent Lewis.  No action was taken.
During the discussion of the consent agenda, Councilman Lathan Thompson questioned the appointment of City Attorney Tom Lieske as both city attorney and city prosecutor.
According to Mayor Jones, the appointment was simply a correction of an oversight that should have been taken care of in January when Lieske was appointed as the City Attorney.
Thompson stated that he felt the appointment of Lieske as both city attorney and city prosecutor was a conflict of interest.
“I don’t think you ought to have the city attorney doing the prosecuting on zoning type issues that he is advisor to at the very beginning before he writes the zoning regulations,” said Thompson.  “I mean, anything else that comes to the city, outside things, I don’t have a problem with that, but when it comes to zoning and things that he is the advisor of I think we should have an outside prosecutor.”
Mayor Jones told Thompson that outside prosecution was not in the budget.
Lieske responded that he has advised and written ordinances at the direction of the city council as the city attorney for years and had also prosecuted.
“I am writing the law at the direction of the council,” said Lieske. “And certainly, I’ve talked to them about it and advised them sometimes whether or not certain ordinances meet constitutional scrutiny, so yea, that happens.”
Councilman Evans also voiced concerns about the appointment.

For more see The Courier

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