Thursday, August 26, 2010

Strange Legal Advice

I just can't get over something that happened at the commission meeting the other night. Our new city attorney, hired because Rey Trujillo found it hard to follow our previous city attorney, was asked a direct question about the following sentence in the new police chief's contract: "Employee shall have sole discretion in the management of the Police Department and should not be interfered with in the performance of his duties."

The attorney, Daniel Abbott, of Weiss Serota, answered that it did not mean "sole discretion" but never answered what it did mean. I don't have a law degree and most of you don't either, but imagine if you were on a jury and the counsel explained that "sole discretion" did not mean "sole discretion" and never explained why it means something else. I'd be hard pressed to figure out another meaning. And remember, a jury is the real test of whether a lawsuit prevails.

In the other opinion for which he was asked, Abbott agreed that the contract could not be terminated by the city without us being liable for nine months of pay for anything other than a criminal conviction.

Since Abbott reviewed the contract, it seems like it would have been incumbent on him to warn the city that these statements left us vulnerable.

Remember, we are paying I believe $250 an hour for this advice.

Kevin Vericker
August 26, 2010

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