Rockford Approves Funds for Legal Second Opinions

Here’s an interesting nugget from a Rockford Register Star report:

ROCKFORD — Aldermen have adjusted the 2011 spending plan that they approved last week to give themselves $50,000 to hire attorneys or consultants in the coming year.

The idea, which was approved tonight with a vote of 8-5, stems from last summer’s bitter disagreement over whether the mayor has the power to appoint a department head and set a salary without the council’s consent.

Code interpretation
During that debate, a handful of aldermen disagreed with Legal Director Patrick Hayes’ interpretation of city code and sought their own legal advice. Ald. Carl Wasco, D-4, obtained a second opinion from Chicago law firm Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, but there was no fund like the one created tonight to pay for the firm’s services.

According to a related article, it’s common for aldermen to request second opinions on legal interpretations. What’s unusual is bypassing city staff to obtain them.


Rockford City Hall happenings in 2010. Highlights:

  • Half of Rockford’s TIFs are running in the red
  • The city’s ownership of 700 properties is scrutinized
  • There’s no means for replacing its aged fleet of vehicles