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Council doesn't act in city's best interest

West Linn’s ruling council majority consisting of Mayor Kovash and councilors Jody Carson, Mike Jones and Jenni Tan warrants another assessment of its misguided and costly actions that are strongly against serving the best interests of West Linn’s residents, taxpayers and ratepayers.

Councilor Teri Cummings is the only council member who has consistently opposed the misguided actions of the ruling council majority and advocated and spoken up for the best interests of West Linn’s residents, taxpayers and ratepayers.

The conduct of the present city government controlled by the above-named ruling council majority is very detrimental to the best interests of West Linn and its residents. Whatever is admirable about West Linn certainly cannot be credited to a city government dominated by this bunch.

Egregiously, they have willingly and callously turned over the running of the city to City Manager Chris Jordan who lives in Lake Oswego instead of West Linn. He conducts himself as if he’s largely a power unto himself. I believe he’s encouraged in this by the ruling council majority having essentially abdicated their obligations to set and oversee policies for the running of city government and instead has allowed Jordan to essentially run city government in their stead.

One outrageous example is that Jordan has been allowed by the ruling council majority to violate the city charter in regard to hiring attorneys. The charter authorizes only the city council to hire and fire attorneys, but the ruling council majority has allowed Jordan to exercise that function by himself. Councilor Teri Cummings, who as always, in contrast to the ruling council majority, takes positions that are in the best interests of West Linn and its residents, has objected to the ruling council majority allowing Jordan to hire attorneys in violation of the city charter.

Jordan’s most recent violation in this regard has been to hire an entirely unneeded and very expensive in-house attorney who reports to him. The ruling council majority should have objected to this instead of allowing Jordan to do so. The city has already had an approved city attorney for a long time and he is all that is needed to advise and handle legal matters for the city.

Also Jordan, on his own, previously hired an attorney, Jeff Condit, to represent the city in regard to presumably opposing urbanization of the Stafford Triangle and advocating it be preserved as a rural reserve instead of an urban reserve. Councilor Cummings was the only lne who objected to Jordan being allowed to hire Condit. If all of the council were really serious about opposing urban reserve status for the Stafford Triangle it should have hired attorney Peggy Hennessey, of the law firm Reeves, Kahn & Hennessy, to represent the city in this endeavor. She has a track record of having successfully done so previously in handling an appeal, made by the Dodds administration, before the court of appeals to roll back Metro’s expansion in 2002 of the urban growth boundary adjacent to West Linn. Her firm has never represented developers, but Condit’s firm, Miller Nash, does represent developers among its clients. Therefore, I believe there’s definitely a conflict of interest in using Condit to represent West Linn in this matter.

We have a city government that is extremely objectionable. It needs to be changed.

Bob Thomas is a West Linn resident.