Maybe it’s just me, but I’m a little confused. At the City Council meeting Monday evening, the council again discussed changing the status of the city attorney from a contract position to that of a full-time employee.

Councilman Sheila Solon said her primary goal was to save taxpayer dollars. While I agree with her goal, I’m confused by her logic and reasoning.

Just last year, the council explored the costs and benefits of making this change. That review included an examination of our current costs and a comparison with neighboring cities. It was determined that this change would increase the cost to the taxpayers by anywhere from $16,000 to $49,000 annually. This study is available for your review at www.AboutBlueSprings.com/page/AttyStudy.aspx.

The study also examines the advantages and disadvantages of using a contract city attorney versus a full-time employee. While there are advantages to having a salaried attorney on staff, the study indicates those are outweighed by the extra expense.

Currently, we only pay for the time we need legal services, which equates to a part-time position. Until our city requires a full-time attorney it just doesn’t make sense to pay more, which is what the council is proposing. One has to wonder what the true objective could be.

As the discussion progressed, it was clear that both District 3 councilmen were seeking to set the pay grade range for a staff city attorney at entry level. Blue Springs is a growing city. It isn’t a sound, fiscally conservative plan to offer “on the job training” for a new city attorney. Not at the expense of our tax dollars, when we currently receive experienced legal services for less money. To his credit, Mayor Ross seemed to understand the benefits of retaining an experienced attorney.

In the end, the wisest use of our taxpayers’ dollars is to continue to contract our city attorney until his billable hours begin to approach that of a full-time employee. In a separate discussion, Councilman Solon was also seeking ways to fund GPS units for our police officer’s cars, at a cost of $24,000. This is a much better use of our taxpayer dollars than increasing our costs to make the city attorney a full-time employee.