Harahan City Attorney Stephen London resigned from his post over the weekend, saying the job demands more time than he expected when he took it on for new Mayor Tina Miceli in January.
The resignation followed a call by Councilwoman Dana Huete for London’s resignation, though London and Miceli said they were not aware of her request until asked about it Monday by reporters.
“I decided that I just don’t have enough time,” said London, who has his own private law practice. “The job just requires more time than I thought it would.”
Miceli said she was disappointed that London resigned but understood that the part-time job — which pays $27,000 per year — is demanding.
Huete, who could not be reached for comment Monday, sent a letter to Miceli dated Sunday saying she had no confidence in London’s ability to interpret the Lawrason Act — the act that municipalities use as a framework for local governance — or professionalism.
The first allegation appeared to refer to a dispute she and Councilman Craig Johnston had with Miceli over the mayor’s replacement of Meyer Engineers Inc. with Stuart Consulting Group as city engineer — a decision the council members felt rested with the council.
The second charge referred to a response London gave during a discussion of that dispute at a council meeting that some interpreted as disrespectful. London apologized at that meeting and said he did not mean to be disrespectful.
Miceli, a political outsider, became mayor in January, and a rift appeared almost immediately between her on one side and Johnston and Huete on the other. The two council members have been pushing for ordinances requiring that the city budget, contracts and other documents be posted online, citing the need for “transparency,” while Miceli and the rest of the council said the city could not meaningfully comply with such laws yet.
Miceli, who succeeded Vinny Mosca, said she took office to find rooms full of boxes stuffed with contracts and paperwork, incomplete records and very little technological capacity to digitize city records and function the way a modern municipality should.
She has pledged to modernize city government but has said it is a more complicated, longer-term job than immediately posting records online.
Miceli said Monday that she found “absurd” the idea that anyone should question London’s legal ability.
Huete’s call for London’s ouster said his replacement should be chosen by the council, which also was a point of contention between the mayor and members of the council.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.