Osseo city attorney to retire, council considers splitting duties

At a recent Osseo City Council meeting City Attorney Loren Magsam announced that he would be ending his career with the city at end of the year.

Magsam has been the city’s attorney for the last 23 years.

City Administrator Doug Reeder mentioned that in order to have an orderly transition and find the best possible replacement, it is important that the city council begin discussing how to go about replacing the city attorney and determining the cost changes for the 2015 General Fund budget.

Reeder asked the city council at the June 23 meeting, how it wanted to proceed.

“I think we should have somebody selected by at least December of this year so we can have a little bit of an overlap,” Reeder said.

Mayor Duane Poppe felt staff should start the process sooner rather than later. “That way, as we look at the budget, we have an idea how we need to tweak the budget,” he said. “And also it would be nice to at least have someone here for at least three months to get up to speed on what’s going on.”

Reeder said one of his thoughts would be working with Magsam to come up with a list of attorneys that may be interested in the position. The second thought would be if the council wanted to split the position into city criminal prosecution and city legal work. “They are two pretty different jobs,” he added.

Magsam said there are many people interested in the prosecution part of the contract that would have no interest in the city attorney part. “I think the notion of splitting it into two makes some sense,” he said. “You may get your best value by having, at least the opportunity, of having it split into two separate parts. You might get one person that really does want to bid on both sides of it. My guess, is that you will get a lot more interest and better value if you have it split into two parts.”

Councilor Daniel Spanier asked what the break down was for the cost and time for the two parts. Magsam said his time was divided about 50-50 between the two parts.

The council directed Reeder to look into getting proposals and recommendations for either prosecution or city work with the Human Resources group and bring it back to the council.