City Attorney acknowledges legal ambiguity

In these chronologically sequential emails, the Mayor acknowledges that Ordinance 303 is NOT in the city code of ordinances.  This is the ordinance on which their entire legal argument hinges.  Allegedly, this ordinance provides a 30 day time limit for the submission of referendum petitions.  This ordinance, which is not in the city code and was never signed by a mayor, enforces that 30 day limit and would theoretically invalidate the petitions of the Searcy Friends of Voters who submitted their petitions after 30 days of the tax’s passage.

It seems that the Mayor and city attorney both recognized that there were potential problems with this ordinance, yet they proceeded and are now costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees.

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From: Belinda Laforce [mailto:blaforce@cityofsearcy.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:27 AM
To: bgibson@millargibson.com
Subject: MOU AP Comm

Buck,
Since we have called a meeting of A P Commission for tomorrow – will you have a draft of a Memo of Understanding to present?  Chairman Kent Bruxvoort will not be able to attend, he is out of town – so I would not think we need to act on the MOU – but maybe give them a draft of something to think about before the next meeting?
I also have Oaths of Office to distribute to each member to sign.

Kyle Reeves picked up a copy of ORd. 303 this morning.  Person inquired of me this morning via radio call in show – why Ordn 303 was not in our Code of Ordinances?

Mayor Belinda LaForce
401 West Arch Avenue
Searcy , AR 72143
PH: 501-268-2483
Fax: 501-279-1050
blaforce@cityofsearcy.org

___
From: Buck Gibson [mailto:bgibson@millargibson.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:26 AM
To: Belinda Laforce
Subject: RE: MOU AP Comm

It’s a good question.  I understand from Mike that he asked around for an ordinance that did this but was told it did not exist.  We might want to look going forward to see if there is something we can find repealing it.

That would be bad.

Buck C. Gibson
Searcy City Attorney
401 W. Center
P.O. Box 1406
Searcy, Arkansas 72145-1406
Phone: (501) 268-8220
Fax: (501) 278-5995

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From: Belinda Laforce [mailto:blaforce@cityofsearcy.org]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:32 AM
To: Buck Gibson
Subject: RE: MOU AP Comm

Okay – will do (but I do not recall one)  this is the same ordinance we used in the Labitcus case on filing the referendum petition to the best of my memory.

Mayor Belinda LaForce
401 West Arch Avenue
Searcy, AR 72143
PH: 501-268-2483
Fax: 501-279-1050
blaforce@cityofsearcy.org

—-

From: Buck Gibson [mailto:bgibson@millargibson.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 9:35 AM
To: Belinda Laforce
Subject: RE: MOU AP Comm

Thanks.

Mike also recalled that the code of ordinances was initially adopted  in the 1960s not, as I understood, in the  1990s.  We should probably try to find that adopting ordinance when you have the chance.

Buck C. Gibson
Searcy City Attorney
401 W. Center
P.O. Box 1406
Searcy, Arkansas 72145-1406
Phone: (501) 268-8220
Fax: (501) 278-5995

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