Muzzling the mayor 

After Mayor Mike Kadas again warned Council members that their decision to deny the Roe family a boundary line readjustment at 636 Evans could prove to be costly down the road, he was firmly admonished by several Council members at Monday night’s Council meeting.

“I believe it’s important that we speak with one voice at this time,” said Ward 3’s Lou Ann Crowley.

Ward 6’s Clayton Floyd agreed. If the mayor has concerns, said Floyd, he should express them privately. Floyd suggested the mayor e-mail Council members.

In response, Kadas pointed out that City Council is a public body, and one that deliberates openly.

“If you want to deliberate this, let’s do it in committee,” said Ward 5’s Bob Lovegrove. “Why don’t you come?”

Committee meetings, however, are not broadcast “as a rule,” says MCAT’s Joel Baird, though that could change come fall.

Once the Roes sue the city, said Kadas, that lawsuit could be tied up in court for a year or more. If the Council, in the meantime, continues to deny boundary line relocation requests on premises that later prove illegal, the city—and taxpayers—could quickly become liable for millions [in legal fees and judgments], he said.

“I’m concerned about the direction we’re headed here,” Kadas said.

Council members who believe the city has strayed far past its legal purview are in the minority. When Ward 6’s Ed Childers asked Council to reconsider its decision to deny 636 Evans boundary line readjustment, Ward 1’s Heidi Kendall concurred.

“I don’t find it defensible, the situation that we’re in right now,” she said. She pointed out that Billings recently lost a similar suit that cost it $345,000.

The mayor is not the only city official who believes the Council’s decision on 636 Evans is legally insupportable. City Attorney Jim Nugent, whose opinion was sought by Council, advised against the denial. At the end of the meeting, Ward 4’s Myrt Charney asked that the elected officials consider hiring a different attorney to represent the city in the expected suit.

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