The question of whether Alderman Kenneth Kirby violated the city charter's residency rules and what the mayor and City Council should do about it remains unresolved.
The city attorney provided the council with a written opinion on the situation as promised at Monday night's meeting, but the matter was not discussed and only briefly mentioned moments before the meeting adjourned.
Copies of the eight-page opinion were handed to members of the media at the conclusion of the meeting.
Much of the opinion relates to sections of the City Charter and City Code that deal with the question of residency, along with several pages of other cases involving residency requirements.
The question of Kirby's residency in Ward 6 arose after found him in public housing during a raid involving suspected drug activity. Police said he was not doing anything illegal. The unit was not his listed permanent address.
A full copy of City Attorney Karen Hardwick's opinion is attached to this article. Here's her conclusion:
By City Charter, the City Council is the body empowered to "judge the qualifications of its members." In light of the foregoing legal analysis, the threshold questions before the Mayor and Council are whether (a) the Mayor has been presented with undisputed evidence of an alderman or alderwoman's change in domicile such that a vacancy has been created; and (b) if not, whether there is sufficient basis for initiating an adjudicative process on a member's qualifications as envisioned by the Charter.
Mayor Josh Cohen said he had just received a copy of the opinion prior to the meeting and had not had a chance to properly review it. He said he was not going to comment on the situation until he's had a chance to thoroughly read the document.
City Council with Hardwick earlier this month to discuss responsibilities and the liabilities to the aldermen. The result of that meeting was that Hardwick would prepare the opinion and make it public.
Kirby attended the closed-door meeting.
The city’s on the topic, but ruled that it was not the proper body to consider the question. That decision was reinforced in Hardwick's opinion.