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Opinion finds Pierce County Council decision to cut Hecht’s seat illegal; will veto follow?

Post by David Wickert on Nov. 9, 2009 at 8:22 am |
November 9, 2009 2:23 pm

In case you missed it, our Inside Opinion blog reported Saturday that the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has written an opinion that concludes the County Council’s decision to eliminate Superior Court Judge Michael Hecht’s seat was illegal.

Chief Civil Deputy Doug Vanscoy found that the move was illegal on two grounds. First, Vanscoy noted that Department 9 (Hecht’s seat) was created by the Legislature, so only state lawmakers have the power to eliminate the post. Second, he wrote that the vehicle the council used – an amendment to the 2009 budget – was not the proper means to eliminate the seat.

You can read more here.

The opinion raises an obvious question: will County Executive Pat McCarthy veto the council’s decision?

McCarthy can cite Vanscoy’s opinion and say the law is on her side. But the council’s decision was unanimous. So unless someone changes their mind, a veto might prove futile. It also might create further friction between the executive and the council.

It would be McCarthy’s third veto in recent weeks. Stay tuned.

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