Riverside city attorney in limbo
RIVERSIDE— “We have some key issues that we need addressed,” said Riverside Mayor Bill Poch about city attorney Leslie Lamping at the Monday, Aug. 5, city council meeting.
Lamping was asked by the city to have a written report of items he was given to work on by July 31. One of the items was the process of annexing Boise Street on the west side of Riverside into city limits.
“I did not receive any documents or anything,” said Riverside city deputy clerk Lory Young.
Poch asked the council where the council should go from there.
“We talked about this earlier — that if our city attorney isn’t able to complete what we were doing, we were going to seek other avenues, I guess,” Poch said.
Councilor Nate Kasdorf asked if anyone has spoken with Lamping personally. Poch said he thought city administrator Rusty Rogerson had called him and e-mailed him.
“We call and his secretary will call every once in a while,” Young said. “But no, I’ve never spoke to him.”
Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen asked if the opportunity to annex Boise Court into city limits would go away if the city didn’t start working on it soon. Councilor Kevin Kiene said no. He said Washington County zoning administrator Steve Lafaurie told him the county wasn’t going to do anything with Boise Court yet.
“So, what should we do here?” Kasdorf asked. “Should one of us call him? You call him or I call him?”
“I can call him,” Poch said.
Poch had a question for the councilors. He wanted to know what the city should do about Lamping’s contract.
“I’ll start with you, Nate. What do you think we should do?”
Kasdorf again said someone should contact Lamping personally to see what’s going on.
“We talked about this when we gave him a deadline, and to me, I thought it was very clear the deadline spelled it out and here now we’re making excuses for him for not doing his job?” Schneider asked. “I mean he’s the professional here. He’s the one who should give us the information. We shouldn’t have to go and ask him for the information.”
Schneider said there were a number of things Lamping was asked to do by the city and there haven’t been any results from Lamping. He said Lamping shouldn’t be given any more time. The council agreed in July to give Lamping 30 days to begin the annexation process, and nothing had been done.
“I agree with you,” Kasdorf said. “But can we do anything tonight?”
Young told Kasdorf the council could take action because it was listed on the agenda as an action item.
Councilor Ralph Schnoebelen said he thought the e-mail Rogerson sent to Lamping asking for a written progress report had enough direction.
“It says right here, ‘written report,’ ” Schnoebelen said.
Kasdorf agreed with Schnoebelen but said there was no guarantee Lamping has been receiving any of the e-mails sent to him from city hall. Young said she believed Lamping was receiving the e-mails because once Lamping or his secretary opened the e-mail, a notification was sent back to them letting the city hall staff know the e-mail had been opened.
Kasdorf didn’t want to take any action until Lamping had appeared before city council to explain why he hasn’t responded to any of their requests.
“I can ask him tomorrow,” Young said.
Poch asked Young to tell Lamping to be at the next meeting.
Young asked Poch if she should contact the other firms who have shown interest in becoming the city’s legal counsel to see if they were still interested. He said yes.
Other items covered at the city council meeting were:
passing a resolution to enter into the 28e agreement with the English River Watershed Management Authority;
how to begin enforcing the city’s abandoned vehicle ordinance. The council decided a phone call to the resident and a certified letter will be sent out;
approving the second reading of the resolution giving all city employees a 2.4 percent cost-of-living wage increase;
and set up a work session with the city’s engineer firm before the council meeting on Aug. 19. Previously, the council looked at three properties in town with stormwater runoff problems. One stormwater issue was sent out for bid in front of the Riverside Grain and Feed, but no responses were received. Benjamin Carhoff from Hart Fredricks Engineering told the council if they created a bigger project or fixed the stormwater runoff issues in town all at once, there might be a better response next time.
The next city council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 19.