“I was taken for granted and taken advantage of by the politicians because of my affection for my hometown,” said Jeff Steeg, a former assistant city attorney.
Dale Clift, the former city attorney, said the $33,000-a-year pay he received “imposed an unreasonable financial burden” given the many hours he devoted to city business.
Both of the lawyers, who are partners in private practice, said they pushed for several years to get more money or benefits as well as to bolster the city’s legal muscle so they wouldn’t have to do so much.
Each of the two attorneys delivered a long address to the council. The texts of their speeches are here, in PDF form:
I'll write more about what they had to say on Wednesday. This is just a start. But I strongly urge anyone who cares to read what each of the lawyers had to say. They provide a context to what happened that is necessary to understand their choices, but also to get a glimpse into how City Hall operates, or fails to operate.
Krawiecki finally gets appointed
After trying for more than a year to convince his Democratic colleagues on the City Council to agree to let him hire a GOP lawyer to fill one of three part-time city attorney slots, Mayor Art Ward finally got his way Tuesday.
The council unanimously to endorse Edward Krawiecki, Jr, a former city attorney, for one of two part-time assistant city attorney positions.
Krawiecki will join two full-time lawyers -- Richard Lacey and Ann Baldwin -- whom he used to oversee when he served as the city’s top lawyer during former Mayor William Stortz’s most recent administration.
Two other city lawyer positions, including the city attorney, are vacant because their holders resigned last month after city officials repeatedly refused to hire more help, increase their pay or add health insurance benefits to the jobs.
The two vacant posts have been advertised, with applications due by June 17.
The city attorney needs five years of experience for the $33,000-a-year position while the assistant collects $28,000-a-year and needs only two years of experience in order to be eligible.
Krawiecki, who served for 16 years as a state lawmaker while also practicing law, easily meets the experience threshold.
When Ward took office in 2007, he kept Krawiecki on for months until the council rebelled and forced him to replace the Republican with a Democrat, Dale Clift, who had been a part-time city lawyer for more than a decade.
Last year, the four council members who refused to back Krawiecki -- Frank Nicastro, Cliff Block, Craig Minor and Kevin McCauley -- said they didn’t mind hiring a Republican to fill the office’s fifth slot.
But they didn’t want Krawiecki.
Minor said last summer that he told the mayor “that demoting Ed to assistant corp counsel was very bad for morale and organizational dynamics.”
“I tried to use a military analogy: you don't demote the company commander to sergeant and keep him in the same unit,” Minor said at the time. “The men will be constantly looking to the ‘sergeant’ to approve whatever the new commander says, which completely undermines his authority.”Five other Republicans who sought the city job were turned down as Ward held out for Krawiecki.
McCauley said that he considered voting against Krawiecki, but decided that as long as everyone agreed on the need to fill the other two positions in the legal office, he could vote in favor.
Ward said that applications would be reviewed quickly, followed by interviews so the city can “get ‘em on board.”
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org