EL city attorney position stirs emotion

Jun 20, 2014

Jeff Hank
Credit Votehank.org

Voters in East Lansing may decide whether to alter policy involving the city’s attorneys. Two East Lansing activists claim the city could save money and avoid potential conflicts of interest by hiring a full-time municipal lawyer. The East Lansing City Council already has that option, but often opts to contract legal work hourly to private firms.

They've obtained more than 2,000 signatures that could give voters the chance to force the city council to hire a full-time municipal lawyer.

The petition has picked up some influential opponents as well, including former East Lansing Mayor’s Sam Singh and Mark Meadows. They both believe that activists Jeff Hank and Phil Bellfy are wrong about how much the move would save. 

Current State speaks with Jeff Hank, attorney and candidate for U.S. Congress to talk about the petition. Hank says cost is not the only issue, it’s about a conflict of interests. It’s the idea that someone who exercises prosecution in our local government, the city attorney, should work exclusively for the city and not anyone else.