The Ely Times
A special Ely City Council meeting was held last week to accept the resignation of City Attorney, Chuck Odgers.
Odgers recently submitted his letter of resignation to the council and Mayor Nathan Robertson.
The letter stated, “I have worked for the City of Ely since January 19, 2015, as your City Attorney. I have enjoyed my time as your City Attorney, however, I cannot continue to work the number of hours that I have had to work over the past two years. I have no work, or home life balance. Therefore, I am tendering my resignation, effective August 2, 2019.”
Councilman Kurt Carson placed the item on the agenda to accept Odgers’ resignation.
Odgers thanked the council and expressed his enjoyment while working for the City of Ely.
“Thank you Kurt and Nathan for reaching out to me and trying to resolve this matter,” he said. “Unfortunately, the thing I needed the most you can’t give so it is with a heavy heart, that I say good by to the City.”
Robertson said, “We appreciate your service.”
Carson, thanked Odgers for his service, commending him for putting his heart and soul into the city and apologized for not being able to provide more services to him at this time.
“It will be a loss to the city, because no matter who we get the education is going to be too long to take care of what has transpired. I was hoping Chuck was going to stay but I don’t blame him for moving on, and I wish him luck,” said Councilman, Ernie Flangas.
Councilman Sam Hanson also expressed his appreciation for Odgers. He said,“I have appreciated the fact that he has done an extraordinary job in keeping us all out of trouble, which has been a challenge for his entire time he’s been here, and for everything else he’s taken on.”
Robertson said, “There’s definitely a value, and it’s hard to put a dollar figure on his institutional knowledge, and replacing an employee who’s been involved and dedicated certainly won’t be easy, that’s for sure.”
The motion was made and approved with a 3-1 vote, Flangas being nay. Councilman Tony DeFelice was not present.
The next agenda item from Councilman Jim Alworth was to recruit for a replacement for Odgers’ position.
Carson, appeared concerned on how the council was to proceed for this point, noting a variable of options that could be explored. Carson asked the mayor and council if anybody had any thoughts on the recruitment process.
“There, are definitely some options that could be explored,” he said.
The discussion began on recruiting for a full-time attorney, in addition to recruiting for request for proposal for contract attorney services. Odgers advised them that they could recruit for both simultaneously.
Robertson said, “Personally, I do feel we need a full-time attorney, there is a lot on the plate at the moment, and I think if we are going to attract somebody to the community we need to be offering a full-time position, that being said though, I wouldn’t want to preclude us from a contract proposal for services. I’d like to see us entertain any option that comes up, in the like of not getting any applicants.”
Carson noted it is a tough call. Flangas requested the recruit in state, also noting that a full-time person is needed to handle matters at this time. Hanson, agreed, saying that flexibility is always a good thing to have.
Robertson suggested they amend the motion to advertise for full-time employee position for city attorney but also advertise for RFPs.”
Carson asked for clarification at this time. “Are we going to try to do a part-time thing with the Deputy District Attorney for prosecutions, and also get a full time attorney on staff here, or get a part time staff here?” he asked.
Carson added, “To me at this time, it’s nice to kind of open that door with the county and the DA’s doing the prosecutions, especially with this new building being built, and test the water and see if we could do this on a more permanent basis, and maybe it’s something the county would like to take over, and us walk away from it.”
Alworth said, “Could we put the word in to hire a part-time attorney? I hate to say hire a full-time attorney and all of a sudden the work is not there, I would rather consider hire a part-time, and if the work load is there they could go full time. Maybe someone whose new, get his feet wet. Any attorney coming in, is not going to know the caseload.”
Robertson said, “This is true, but any attorney we go after is not going to move here for a part-time job.”
Alworth said, “That’s why I’m saying leave the agenda to say full-time does not exclude a part-time position.
Odgers noted to the mayor and council that working in the position the last 4 1/2 years, he knows it’s not part-time job.
Robertson said, “ I don’t think the current amount of work it currently is, is a part-time job. Down the road if we sent that stuff out like we discussed, the prosecutions…I think we could review that, but at the moment the way it’s set up it’s a full time job.”
“It would lessen the burden by making that lady over there the HR person,” as he pointed to Amy Trask. “ For four and a half years, he’s been the HR person, so that took a lot off his plate, but that’s a lot off of anybody coming on, but HR takes a lot of time, there’s no doubt about that.
“The attorney will be here to be just an attorney not a HR slash, attorney,” Alworth said.
Robertson said, “ I think we open it up as much as we can. Carson, I agree, we are trying something new here, it might take a bit of time to figure out what direction we are going.”
The item was approved unanimously.