News - November 30, 2011

Atherton: Sweidy challenges appointment of Flint

by Barbara Wood

An Atherton resident who has been tangled up in legal actions with the town and her contractor over problems with her home's construction is claiming that it is not legal for Atherton's interim police Ed Flint to also serve as acting interim city manager.

Kimberly Sweidy sent an email to Atherton city officials Nov. 22 protesting the recent appointment of Chief Flint when interim city manager John Danielson became seriously ill while on a trip out of state.

Ms Sweidy, who is an attorney, says that a legal opinion issued by the California Attorney General in another case says that a police chief can not serve as a city manager because he would be, in effect, managing him or herself.

"My concern is for the day to day conflicts that arise when the Police Chief is acting as his own supervisor," Ms. Sweidy wrote. "Unfettered power, backed by the legal use of force, are my concern, and should be the concern of every freedom-loving American."

Atherton city attorney Bill Conners responded to Ms. Sweidy, saying that because Mr. Flint is simply the "acting" interim city manager, the legal precedents do not apply.

"The acting official does not hold any office, merely acts on behalf of the true office holder," Mr. Conners wrote in his response to Ms. Sweidy's complaint. "He or she is not paid extra to act on behalf of the Manager, nor does he assume any special duties or privileges while so acting. ... The duty is limited to acting in those areas where action is required before the real office holder can return."

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