The whole question of counsel for the Council has some history, as does Andy Howard's connection with it. The issue of the Common Council needing its own attorney first came up in 2006, when a new mayor (Dick Tracy) and several new aldermen took office. Prior to that, legislative initiatives tended to originate with the mayor, and the Council's role was basically to approve or deny those initiatives. In that situation, having a single city attorney, who served at the pleasure of the mayor, worked perfectly well. But in 2006, the Council had its own robust and diverse legislative agenda. Crafting legislation to carry out their initiatives required the advice of legal counsel. At the time, it was believed that a referendum was required to retain counsel for the Council. So, in November 2006, there was a referendum, and it failed.
This year, the money is in the budget, the mayor and the city attorney seem to agree that having legal counsel for the Council is allowed by the charter, and all that remains is for the attorney who will counsel the Council to be determined.
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