file photo by Boyd Loving
The Village Attorney’s client is the Village, not any elected councilmember. Nobody on the council should look to the Village Attorney for political support. The advice needs to be detailed, accurate and COMPLETE. Why he didn’t ward the council off of a one-off up-or-down vote on allowing a single third-party group to erect their flag on Village property for an entire month is a mystery. Elected officeholders considering the merits of that organization’s message or mission when deciding yes or no on such a proposed flag display is a municipal sin under well-known first amendment jurisprudence (as now applied to the several states). So sometimes our Village Attorney unaccountably drops the ball. The right way to handle this? Set up a simple content-blind procedure administered by the Village Manager, with no need or opportunity for grandstanding officeholders and third party petitioners to pollute Ridgewood’s political atmosphere with obscene virtue signaling at village council meetings.