North Adams Councilors Demand Rights to Solicitor
City councilors want their right to speak to their attorney.
iBerkshires.com reports councilors have been grumbling for some time over having to go through the mayor's office to reach the city solicitor. The changes were implemented earlier this year when the city engaged KP Law of Boston, a firm specializing in municipal law.
Mayor Thomas Bernard's response to their concerns was "absolutely unacceptable," City Councilor Jason LaForest said at Monday's General Government Committee meeting.
"It is a violation of our charter and ordinances," he said.
In his communication to the committee, the mayor said city staff and the state Division of Local Services may be able to provide answers for their questions. Should councilors need more, they can contact his office.
The councilors pointed to the city's ordinances that state the solicitor "shall also appear as counsel" to governmental bodies or departments when requested by the City Council.
The councilors were particularly irate that the administrative officer, who does not have a legal degree, should determine whether a query required an attorney's response.
The city's first two administrative officers had also been attorneys and could provide legal guidance.
Now, councilors say, they not only have their queries reviewed by the administration, but they also are not getting answers in a timely manner.