Popular Articles

Article Legal Notes Joan L. CassmanCecilia M. Quick

Declaring a State of Emergency: What You Need to Know

Patterson’s HOST House Tackles Homelessness

The city financed a transitional residence for its homeless population.

Article Features Patrice Chamberlain

Police Departments Use Creative Approaches to Build Public Trust

A foundation of community trust and strong community relationships is crucial for law enforcement to effectively prevent crime and safely resolve situations that involve residents.

Article Legal Notes Christi Hogin

Sober Living Businesses in Residential Zones

This article presents the current legal constraints and considerations related to local regulation of sober living homes and residential alcohol and drug rehabilitation facilities, which is limited…

Article Executive Director's Message Carolyn Coleman

Finding Solutions to the Affordable Housing Shortage

Significant barriers and disincentives constrain the production of housing. These include local and national economic and job market conditions, challenges for developers and a lack of funding and…

Article Legal Notes Melanie M. PoturicaDavid A. Urban

A City Council Member’s Role With Respect to Individual City Employees

Melanie M. Poturica is managing partner at the law firm of Liebert Cassidy Whitmore in Los Angeles, and can be reached at mpoturica@lcwlegal.com. David A. Urban is an attorney with the firm, and can be reached at durban@lcwlegal.com.


In the public eye, city council members are at the top of the city’s government structure, presiding over large and small bureaucracies that may include police officers, firefighters and many other types of employees charged with serving the public interest. Accordingly, when residents are aggrieved by or interested in the conduct of a particular employee, they may view their council member as that employee’s ultimate “boss” or de facto CEO of the city, who can cause the employee to be disciplined or even terminated, and who could certainly take such lesser actions as communicating with the employee’s direct supervisor or reviewing the employee’s personnel file for information relevant to the issue.

Article Features by Melissa Kuehne

City Use of Social Media: Legal & Other Considerations

Little legal precedent exists related to what cities can and cannot do on social media. However, when making decisions about how to engage on social media, cities should consider a number of legal and practical issues.

Article Features by Michael Coleman and Michael G. Colantuono

Hot Topics in California Municipal Finance

The next recession may be just around the corner, but the state is much better positioned to weather it — and that bodes well for local governments. Hot topics include sales tax and more.

Article Everyday Ethics for Local Officials

The “Front Page” Test: An Easy Ethics Standard

As an elected official and public servant, your actions and words are often subject to intense public scrutiny. Thinking about how the average constituent on the street will perceive your actions…

Article Executive Director's Message Carolyn Coleman

Taking Proactive Steps to Avoid Scandal

When making decisions or taking action, the savvy local official embraces the notion that the law creates a floor for ethical behavior — not a ceiling. In other words, just because a particular…

Article Features by Frank Benest

Winning the War for Talent: The Elected Official’s Role

Talent is mobile and in short supply.

Article Features by Steven M. Berliner

Strategies to Manage Increasing Pension Costs

Explore ways to tackle this daunting task.

Article Executive Director's Message Carolyn Coleman

Stopping the Runaway Pension Train

Increasing pension costs could push cities already in financial distress closer to the brink of bankruptcy.

Article News from the Institute for the Local Government Madeline Henry

Engaging Your Community in the Budgeting Process

Public involvement in city budgeting increases financial transparency and promotes greater trust.