I wasn't aware that I would be flogging a dead horse when I attempted to ask City Attorney Harlen Painter if he had given advice on whether appointing a city councilman to replace Tim Gobble conformed to the letter of the city charter. Man, he wasn't pleased that anyone should question his actions and I got the distinct impression that he didn't like me.
I asked him the meaning of the word "remaining" as it pertained to C16, Section 7 of the city charter and he ordered me to search the dictionary. As luck would have it, I had used just that tome to protect my thighs from the hot plate I had eaten my lunch from. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he was a very, very, very busy and important man and his time was far too valuable to waste on a peasant like me. That put me in my place, I can tell you.
The long and the short of it was that last month I had posed the same question to Councilman David May in this column. May explained, in a much more friendly way I might add, that he was advised by the city attorney that appointing a replacement for Gobble was OK with just a majority vote but May said he was shocked that the replacement would serve out the whole term.
This poses a question on the validity of Painter's advice. First he gets paid to give the advice, good or bad, then if it is challenged in court he gets paid to defend his decision but is immune from accountability. I suppose he advised councilmen a few years back that it was OK to enact a wheel tax. What an attorney! What a job! No wonder Painter spends so much time in the bank.
What do you think?