GREEN The details have been established for the new elected law director position in Green.
During a special council meeting Jan. 15, City Council unanimously approved the details which make the position part-time with a salary of $55,000.
Other details of the position include benefits and, whoever wins election for the position, committing to no less than an average of 20 hours work per week.
City Council had considered voting on the issue during its regular Jan. 8 meeting, but some members of council wanted to hold off to hear a legal opinion. The city obtained an opinion through Walter Haverfield, which is where former Green Law Director Diane Calta worked prior to coming to Green.
Councilman Rocco Yeargin said the extra week gave time for the legal opinion to be put together. The result of the opinion showed no legal matters with the parameters set forth for the law director position.
Yeargin said it was important council move on the legislation so any candidates running for the position had the details.
Councilman Chris Humphrey raised concerns about providing benefits considering the past part-time law director the city had didn’t have benefits.
“We didn’t do it then,” Humphrey said. “Why would we do it now?”
Yeargin said by offering benefits was an incentive to attract quality people to run for the position. He said members of council have benefits and they work fewer hours.
During the Jan. 8 regular meeting, Humphrey said he has concerns with the elected law director position because he believes the city will be spending even more hiring outside legal council if a conflict surfaces with the elected law director.
He said the Charter Review Commission, which meets this year, may find that there are so many issues with the way the elected law director charter amendment was written up that it may want to put the issue back on the ballot again before voters.
Voters are expected to vote on a law director in November unless there is a primary for the position in May. Humphrey said it is possible there could be competing issues on the ballot in November. For that to happen, the Charter Review Commission would have to place a charter amendment to reverse the elected law director position on the ballot.
“I thought we were done with this,” Councilman Stephen Dyer said during the Jan. 8 meeting. “I really wanted to move on.”
He said while the vote on Issue 14 to make the law director an elected position was close, he the people made their voices heard.
Dyer stressed the importance of nailing down the details of the law director position so candidates can decide if they want to run or not.
“We had the fight, the fight is over,” Dyer said.
He wants everyone to work together rather than rip off old wounds.
Councilwoman Barbara Babbitt said it is important to make the details clear for anyone who wants to run for the position.
During the Jan. 8 meeting, community member Desmond Wertheimer, who said he is running for city council, told council the Charter Review Commission is going to have to make changes.
“This is the biggest mess I have ever seen in my life,” Wertheimer said. “We let some knucklehead with a crayon make the biggest mess you have ever seen on a document.”
He also said the elected law director position is going to create many problems and expects the costs could be $500,000 to $1 million in legal expenses based on some of the situations the city had to deal with this year.