A proposal to allow the City Council to hire its own attorneys to draft new city laws ran into a slight roadblock on Wednesday when a special panel was told the City Council has no limits on where or how ordinances are drafted.
Chief Deputy City Attorney William Carter told the Ad Hoc Committee on Legislative Counsel that the City Charter does not ban outsiders or city agencies from drafting ordinances. The only required city attorney involvement is a council rule requiring the city attorney's office to sign sign off on the legality of a measure.
As a result, Councilman Paul Krekorian said he does not believe there is a need to change the City Charter to give the council its own attorneys even as he remains concerned the city attorney's office could be overly involved with policy issues.
"We can seek outside advice if we feel it is needed," Krekorian said.
He added that he wanted to have continued discussions with the city attorney's office over how legislative priorities are set and the speed with which measures are returned to the council.
Councilman Ed Reyes said he was concerned there have been instances on certain issues - such as medical marijuana - where he believed there were mixed signals from the city attorney's office.
"It seemed like the lines got blurred as to who was the being treated as the client and who wasn't," Reyes said.
Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller said there have been instances in the past where the council hired its own legal advisor through his office to provide advice when there were differences with the city attorney's office.