Council Member Bukowski Starts Petition Drive Against City Attorney
"He [Biddle] is the single largest, unnecessary expense
the City is paying for." - Ken Bukowski
Emeryville council member Ken Bukowski has called city attorney Mike Biddle out for the final showdown in his long simmering battle over Mr Biddle's employment contract, the Tattler has learned.
As of late, it's mostly been a war of words between the two men but now councilman Bukowski has brought out the big guns in the form of a city-wide petition drive to force out the head attorney and eliminate the paid employee position in favor of an attorney sub-contractor position to be used in an 'as needed' basis.
Beyond his questions of competence on the part of the city attorney, councilman Bukowsi says Mr Biddle's contract is too expensive and taxpayers could save money by sub-contracting out attorney services as most small cities do. "The city of Pittsburg has a redevelopment agency ten times the size of Emeryville", council member Bukowski told the Tattler, "They use outside legal counsel...they have over a 100 attorneys on staff as a retainer for the same money we pay to only one individual [Biddle]". He added that our city attorney earns more than the Oakland city attorney, "and we're only a fraction the size of Oakland".
Mike Biddle made $287,448 in total compensation last year according to the Public Employee Salaries Database.
The matter of the city attorney will go before Emeryville voters in November if Mr Bukowski can garner the required signatures from residents before the first week of August. The councilman has filed the ballot measure with the city and the signature gathering processes should begin "in about ten days" he says. A total of about 590 signatures will be required to place the item on the ballot.
In a possible conflict of interest, Mr Biddle himself could process the ballot measure against him, including writing the 'objective' voter summation for the ballot measure according to Mr Bukowski. The councilman expressed displeasure at this prospect and indicated the process should be handled by an disinterested and unbiased outside attorney.
Mr Bukowski has obviously been preparing for the move against Mr Biddle; a table will be set up in neighborhoods throughout the city where he will be soliciting signatures and residents will be able to track the location of the table in real time on a Twitter account Mr Buklowski plans on setting up expressly for the signature drive. A web page will also be set up so residents can follow the progress, Mr Bukowski says. The councilman said he will devote four hours a day gathering signatures, informing Emeryville residents about the problems with the city attorney and registering new voters.