City Council Vs. General Counsel

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Updated: 6/18/2013 8:19 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Some City Council members say the general counsel can't be trusted.

They say Cindy Laquidara has given them bad legal advice, plays too large of a role in pension negotiations, even shamed the city by sending a letter to the Jaguars saying that their lease at EverBank Field was in default.

"That was quite shocking and embarrassing for the City," said Councilman Stephen Joost.

Now, there's a new call for her resignation.  And Councilman Matt Schellenberg is leading the charge. "That letter to the Jaguars was unconscionable," he said.

He's drafted a resolution, looking to oust Laquidara, saying the council has lost so much confidence in her that they've had to go out and hire their own attorney, at taxpayer expense.

Many council members realize this could be an uphill battle.  Only the mayor has the authority to begin the termination process.  And his chief of staff, Chris Hand, has made it clear, that's not going to happen.

"The bottom line is she's going to continue as general counsel," said Hand.

Now, there's a call to possibly amend the City Charter, redefining the General Counsel's role.  That's something John Winkler, with Concerned Taxpayers of Duval County, said he could get behind.  He said, "I think that charter amendments will be in order."

Laquidara insists she's not playing favorites.  She said, "I think I'm enjoying the practice of law as I have for three administrations.  And I'm going to continue to do that.  Represent the mayor, the council, the independent agencies that try to save the taxpayers a little money."

She says she's just doing her job, working her way through an argument that's as old as the city's consolidation.

"This issue is not new," said Councilman Bill Bishop.  "This has been going on for 40 years."

Whether Laquidara is even legally employed by the city is also an issue.  According to Shellenberg's resolution, Laquidara resigned after the Peyton administration, then was reappointed and confirmed by the previous council, without her going through the selection process required by the charter.

Now, members of the council are asking Laquidara to look at the law and decide whether she was legally rehired.

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TOMMY - 6/19/2013 5:42 AM
0 Votes
Get rid of her, she seems to be a b*tch!
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