Dillon City Council Holding Special Meeting for City Attorney - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Dillon City Council Holding Special Meeting for City Attorney

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DILLON -

On Wednesday of last week, Dillon City Attorney Duke Gilbert was notified by Mayor Michael Klakken he was no longer a city employee.

According to city-council members, Klakken fired Gilbert after he refused to end two lawsuits involving the city and two residents.

"When Mr. Gilbert refused to go to the court without consent of council is when Mr. Klakken fired him," said Nils Troedsson with the Dillon City Council.

The lawsuits involve Dillon residents who refused to have the city install water meters in their basements.

Instead the city stationed the meters on the resident's curbs and charged them almost $1,300 in fees.

More than five years later and with the suits in the appeals process, the mayor asked the city attorney to end litigation.

"That's what they've been fighting about, is a payment of that claim that the city has against them," Troedsson said.

According to Councilman Nils Troedsson, Mayor Klakken needed approval from the city council to ask the city attorney to end the lawsuits.

Troedsson says the mayor also needed council consent to fire Gilbert as well.

"There's an ordinance that says in order for the city attorney to be removed, it must be with consent of two-thirds of the council. He never approached the council about it," said Troedsson. "He unilaterally fired the attorney."

The city council is holding a special meeting on Thursday to allow Gilbert to remain on the cases, along with two others, as a private attorney.

"The council is having a special meeting on Thursday to pass a resolution that will give the attorney that was fired, Duke Gilbert, the authority to continue on with four cases that he has spent a huge amount of time on," said Troedsson.

The city council cannot reinstate Gilbert back into his job because a new city attorney has already been appointed.

Thursday's special meeting will be held at 12:30 p.m. at the Dillon City Hall.

ABC FOX MONTANA did contact both mayor Klakken and former city attorney Duke Gilbert.

Both declined to comment on the situation.

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