- Council Policy 2-2 Requests for Legal Opinions
Council Policy 2-2 Requests for Legal Opinions
SUBJECT: Requests for Legal Opinions
PURPOSE: To provide Legal Opinions to members of the City Council, the City Manager and Departments of the City.
BACKGROUND: The City Attorney’s office receives numerous requests for legal opinions. Often the request is from an individual Council member, the Mayor, or the Council as a whole, and at other times from the City Manager, the Assistant City Manager or from a department of the City. If requested by a Council member or the Mayor, normally the subject matter is of interest to the Council as a whole; therefore, the opinion will be sent to the Mayor and all Council members. If requested by the Assistant City Manager or a department, the opinion will be sent to the City Manager and the requesting department as well as to the Mayor and Council if deemed necessary to bring the matter to their attention.
PROCEDURES: If the Mayor or a Council member desires an opinion from the City Attorney’s Office on an issue, the Mayor or Council member may submit the question directly to the City Attorney who shall then cause a response to be prepared. If the City Manager, Assistant City Manager or a department desires that the City Attorney’s Office respond to a question the City Manager or Assistant City Manager may submit the question directly to the City Attorney, or as directed by the City Manager, who shall then cause a response to be prepared. All questions submitted by a department to the City Attorney’s Office shall be in writing, either by memorandum or e-mail. The Department Director shall endorse the question to the City Attorney’s Office who shall cause a response to be prepared. To help ensure understanding of the question, requests for an opinion submitted by a Council member, the Mayor or City Manager are encouraged to be submitted in writing. If the question is submitted orally to the City Attorney, the question will be reviewed with the requestor prior to issuing a final opinion to ensure that the proper question is being responded to.
Not all questions posed rise to the level requiring a formal legal opinion. The City Attorney shall determine if a question raises an issue of general concern in which event a Memorandum Legal Opinion will be issued and become a permanent record of the City Attorney’s Office. If a question does not rise to the level requiring a formal Memorandum Legal Opinion, then the response of the City Attorney’s Office will be an informal memorandum. The distribution will be the same in either event as set out in the background information.
Copies of responses to questions posed by the Mayor or a Council member, whether a formal Memorandum Legal Opinion or an informal memorandum or e-mail prepared by the City Attorney’s Office, shall be provided to the Mayor and all Council members,. Copies of responses to questions posed by the Assistant City Manager or a department shall be provided to the City Manager. All responses will be in written form and if the requestor desires the e-mail format the response will be an attachment to the e-mail of the requestor
EFFECTIVE DATE: This policy becomes effective August 1, 2004.
JOHN P. Purcell, Jr.
July 13, 2004