Miami Gardens / Opa-locka

Opa-locka

Opa-locka Commissioner wants attorney removed

 

ldixon@MiamiHerald.com

Opa-locka City Commissioner Timothy Holmes plans to bring a resolution at the city commission meeting Wednesday evening to have City Attorney Joseph Geller removed from his post.

Holmes spoke sternly about it at the last commission meeting, in November, saying that the city manager and clerk’s offices have complained about how long it takes Geller to handle city business. Holmes asked Geller to respond with a plan by Dec. 3 in preparation for the next meeting, and said that now that the deadline has passed he’s moving forward with the resolution.

“I don’t have anything against Mr. Geller, but he must do his job for the city of Opa-locka on a timely basis,” Holmes said. “If he has too much to do, that he can’t do the job, we need to bring someone else in.”

Geller did not respond to a phone call and email seeking comment.

According to Holmes, employees have had to work overtime in order to go through documentation and prepare the agenda packets for meetings.

The commissioner said he does not necessarily expect a lot of support for the resolution, but he has the support of Commissioner Dorothy Johnson. Both commissioners suggested an in-house attorney to work directly in City Hall.

“If we had an in-house attorney, we’d be able to address things immediately and not have this gap,” Johnson said.

Assistant City Manager David Chiverton said that he hasn’t heard much discussion on the issue, and hadn’t yet seen a draft of the agenda proposing the resolution.

“On occasion, there are challenges with getting things done,” Chiverton said. “The commission is well within their right to make that decision at any given moment.”

The city’s charter states that the attorney reports to the commission and can be removed by a majority vote. Geller and his firm are paid about $16,700 monthly.

Geller has served as Opa-locka’s city attorney since 2009 when he was first hired on an interim basis. He also serves as village attorney for El Portal. He’s an attorney with the law firm Greenspoon Marder.

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