Letter: Does the city of Topeka have competent lawyers?

The Topeka Legal Department’s budget shows 15 full-time professionals separated into three divisions: chief of litigation with an associate attorney, paralegal and legal specialist, chief of prosecution with two assistant attorneys, an associate attorney, a legal specialist III and two legal assistants I, and a deputy city attorney with a senior attorney and a senior paralegal. This brings the cost of personnel to $1,058,349.

Yet last Sunday’s front page article in the Capital-Journal, “Police Actions Cost City,” says the city spent defense costs of $1,076,318.69 for outside counsel over the past eight years. Assuming we have competent, able attorneys, why the added expense?

According to the chief of litigation, “When a conflict of interest arises, the city retains outside counsel.” Why can’t the chief of litigation defend the city’s interests in these cases? Why are there so many conflicts of interest?

KEN CROCKETT, Topeka

 

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