LINDEN — The city law director told the mayor that he does not have to follow the chief executive’s instructions when it comes to accounting for his time and that of two other part time lawyers employed by the city.
Mayor Richard Gerbounka told City Attorney Edward Kologi that he wants three part-time attorneys to account for their time the same way any lawyer would provide itemized invoices to another client.
Kologi responded by telling the mayor that he takes direction from the City Council and not Gerbounka.
Kologi said President Robert F. Bunk and Fifth Ward Councilman Eugene Davis are backing up this position.
“I would like you to account for your time and that of Linden’s two assistance attorneys’ time used to conduct Linden’s city business,” wrote Gerbounka in a March 1 letter.
“Most respectfully, the policy you are seeking to implement falls under the jurisdiction of the Council, not the Mayor,” wrote Kologi. “…current procedures will remain in force and effect.”
Last month, Gerbounka vetoed an an ordinance approved by the council on Feb. 16 funding more than $101,000 in salary and benefits for part-time Assistant City Attorney John Hudak.
Kologi said the veto won’t remove Hudak from the payroll because he was appointed for a term “until his successor or successors has been appointed.”
Defending Kologi and Hudak, Bunk said, “There must be better ways to save money.”
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