CLAYTON -- The City Council took the first step Tuesday in asking the state's chief law officer to decide whether its members can also sit on the new Clayton Valley Charter School Board.

The decision to ask the advice of state Attorney General Kamala Harris was unanimous, but the five-member council was torn on whether ultimately it would be wise for a council member to wear both hats.

"We could be opening up a Pandora's box," said Mayor Howard Geller.

The state's advice would be a second -- and final -- opinion. Already, City Attorney Malathy Subramanian advised the council that the two offices are incompatible, as defined by the state's government code.

Politicians who hold incompatible offices must forfeit the first seat they attained.

The idea was pushed by Councilmen David Shuey and Joe Medrano, who each have children attending the charter and were instrumental in its creation and break from the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. The charter school opened this fall.

Supporters on the council said adding a council member to the school board would bring about balance, while opponents said they could see a conflict between the positions and that it could lead to Concord council members wanting to join the school board, as well.

If the attorney general's office takes the city up on its request, it could be six months before an opinion is rendered.

David DeBolt covers Concord and Clayton. Contact him at 925-943-8048. Follow him at Twitter.com/daviddebolt.