Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell says Metro Councilman David James, D-6, “should not be allowed to vote” on city matters until he relinquishes his job as a police officer at the University of Louisville.
In a Feb. 26 memorandum to city lawmakers, O’Connell says state law forbids James from holding two offices simultaneously.
The county attorney’s office is arguing that as a campus officer and council member, James has taken conflicting oaths.
“Once I learned of this, I became concerned that he may be holding an incompatible position under Kentucky Constitution,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell also sent the opinion to Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, and indicated the councilman is taking “immediate steps” to resolve the situation.
James’s legal counsel has said he is rectifying the situation, but cast doubt about the county attorney’s opinion that his client’s private employment and public office are in conflict.
In a Jan. 31 letter, former assistant county attorney William Warner, who is representing James, also says O’Connell threatened to “take some action” if the councilman did not either resign his seat or quit his job in the next 30 to 40 days.
“That most assuredly was not your duty,” Warner said. “In fact, it was a very obvious violation of numerous provisions having to do with a lawyer’s duties to a client.”
“To say that threatening a client to ‘take action’ against him is inconsistent with the Kentucky Rules of Professional Conduct. That notwithstanding, Councilman James has instructed me that he wants this matter handled and resolved professional and in full accord with law, and not as some churlish political vendetta which, unfortunately, it now smacks of.”
James was first elected to the council in 2010, where he earns $44,189 annually. He also currently serves as a major with the UofL police force with a $55,223 yearly salary.
James could not be reached for comment for this story