Lois Albright is out as city attorney for Bay City after 34 years. She resigned in a letter addressed to the Bay City Council in late May.
In her resignation letter, Albright wrote that she was leaving the position because the City Council has hired Portland-based Beery Elsner & Hammond LLP to represent the City for a land-use issue with which her firm has a conflict of interest. Albright also took issue with the City Council requesting her firm pay attorney fees incurred by the City regarding that land-use issue.
“This action creates an adversarial relationship between the City and Albright Kittell PC, and undermines the foundation of trust that is necessary for an effective attorney-client relationship,” Albright’s resignation letter stated. “Therefore, I cannot continue as the Bay City Attorney.”
During a special meeting in May consisting mostly of a closed-doors discussion, the Bay City Council voted to hire a member of Beery Elsner & Hammond to work with the public works director on an agreement to be reached with the Booth family that would resolve the land-use issue. The City Council also voted to inform Albright Kittell PC of its intention to seek reimbursement for legal costs incurred related to the land-use issue.
Albright wrote that she did not take the decision lightly, having been honored to serve as the city attorney. She claimed that no lawsuit had been filed against any city official of staff member during her tenure. Albright also noted hundreds of ordinances that were drafted and opinions that were written by her as well as other accomplishments.
“Our firm worked on bond refinancing and guided the City successfully through the litigation over the sewer plant construction,” the letter stated.
In her letter, Albright referred to the “Union Avenue” issue, writing that her firm represented the Booth family this past year in a Suit to Quiet Title action that replaced the Booths as recorded owners of a “disputed area,” instead of the heirs of Sarah E. Petteys. Albright wrote that her firm “could not and would not take any action adverse to the City’s legal interests.” She added that the representing the Booths was done with the City’s knowledge and consent.
“The City and the neighbors have the same rights and claims now that they had before the lawsuit, including the City’s municipal power of condemnation,” Albright wrote.
Mayor Chris Kruebbe said the City wished Albright well in her future endeavors and that it was unfortunate that things ended as they did. He said he was very happy that she had served the City for as long as she had and thanked her for the important work she did.
Kruebbe said City business should not be affected, as an interim city attorney was hired and the search for a permanent replacement is ongoing.