Alan Jackere's dereliction of duty

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"The City Attorney shall be the chief legal advisor and attorney for the city and all offices, divisions, departments, boards, authorities, commissions, and agencies thereof." -- Tulsa City Charter, Article III, Section 4

There's more evidence today that Mayor Bill LaFortune's appointment of Alan Jackere as City Attorney is a slap in the face of the reform-minded citizens who worked hard to elect him Mayor.

Two weeks ago, the City Council took up final consideration of an ordinance governing ethics for city officials, whether elected, appointed, or employed. Mayoral staffers (and former Councilors) Sam Roop and Clay Bird spoke on behalf of the administration, asking for more time and more input from those who would be affected by the new administration. Even though the ordinance had been in work for the last eight months, Councilor Medlock proposed and the Council approved continuing the item for two weeks. Since that meeting, there have been three work sessions and a committee meeting. Representatives from Mayor LaFortune's administration and the City Auditor's office participated in the meetings. An attorney from the City Attorney's office was present for most of the work sessions as well, although it was said that she didn't have much to say in the meetings. It appeared that consensus had been achieved among all the participants on nearly every point, and that the way was clear for the Council to pass an ordinance which the Mayor would sign.

Then this afternoon at 5 p.m., an hour before the Council meeting was to begin, City Attorney Alan Jackere delivered a memo outlining about a dozen objections and concerns about the draft ordinance. He stated that he spent the last two days looking over the draft and developing this list. Most of the concerns were minor, some seemed to be significant, but the thing to notice is the timing. If the City Attorney regarded himself, as he should, as the servant of the people we voted into office, he or a deputy would have been actively involved over the eight months that the ordinance was in development and particularly over the last two weeks as the final version was being hammered out, raising concerns and helping to put the language into proper legalese. Many of the concerns Jackere raised applied to the version that was before the Council two weeks ago, and he should have raised his voice at that time, or shortly after, if he were truly interested in helping these elected officials achieve their goal of enacting an ethics ordinance.

Jackere's last-minute objections had one purpose -- give Cockroach Caucus councilors cover to vote for further postponement or to vote against the ordinance. It was obvious from the councilors' comments that a vote would fail by a 4-5 margin.

In response to this 11th hour surprise, Chris Medlock made a smart move, but it angered some of his allies. He proposed continuing the item for one more week, until next week's Council meeting, to allow time to incorporate the City Attorney's concerns and to make sure a majority of the Council is on board. If Medlock had not taken the initiative to postpone for one week, it's very likely that a Cockroach Caucus councilor would have proposed, and succeeded in getting, a delay of a month or more, past the recall election, in hopes that there would be two fewer votes for a real ethics ordinance with teeth.

6 Comments

Do not be angry with Medlock for his actions last night; you will have misplaced your anger. This ordnance would not have passed last night anyway. Hopefully a week will help the Council modify the language enough to make it enforceable. If folks want to be angry, they should be angry with Jackere and LaFortune. They are the ones who are primarily responsible for these delays

Bobby Author Profile Page said:

Time tested and proven tactic of the administration and special interests..... STALL. The plot of the story is the same every time... i.e. Homeowner's Protest. The only difference is the topic.

W. said:

I'd rather have a city attorney finding "fixable" problems (his words, not Medlock's) at the 11th hour than dealing with nasty problems after the policy is passed. Sounds like Jackere was doing his job.

I find it funny that Jackere's critics keep citing this and that, about how Jackere's not following the law, blah blah, but the courts have upheld Jackere's opinions so far. Trust the opinions of someone who has actual experience in the law, folks, not wannabe attorneys.

And what in the hell was Roscoe saying last night? Those comments of his were positively bizarre.

mad okie Author Profile Page said:

"should" is found in other city ethics documents, but the use in the new one is unenforceable? Im not saying I have any problems with his suggestions, but they could have been brought forward in a more timly manner (they have only been working on this for the last 8 months, lets not rush it)

It took Jackere 8 minutes to explain what he viewed as problems but wouldn’t sit down with the council that night to fix them. The City Attorneys office had two weeks to work with the council, they chose not to and waited until it was nessesary to postpone it once again...

Bakers "High Five" with Jennings after the meeting is very telling...

Max said:

Interesting that the council attorney mr. rees who worked on the ordinance for 8 months failed to fix the problems during his review. Mr. Bates ignores the real problem.

Warren said:

From what I've seen of Medlock, my guess would be that an "ethics ordinance" would be a way for him to continue to twist the city's business into a pretzel. I'm sure he would interpret the language of such an ordinance "liberally" and subjectively.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 16, 2005 11:55 PM.

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