Langley hires the lawyer next door

Three months after longtime Langley city attorney and administrator Eric Lucas resigned from his jobs to take an administrative judgeship, city officials are literally looking down the street to hire his replacement.

On Wednesday, Langley Mayor Lloyd Furman announced that he has chosen Langley attorney Lynn Hicks to take over the dual role at City Hall. Hicks, who practices law out of a Second Street office just two doors down from City Hall, is expected to begin working as city attorney at next Wednesday's city council meeting.

Recently returned from reserve duties as a Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, Hicks will work into the part-time administrator's job with the city over the next few months, according to Furman.

The mayor said he culled Hicks from a pool of 39 applicants for the attorney and administrator jobs. He said only about six of those applicants were interested in doing both jobs.

Though Hicks could be the city's most highly-paid employee once she is working at full capacity with the city - if Lucas' $60,000 annual salary is any indication - Furman said he believes combining the attorney and administrator jobs is the most efficient way to cover the two positions. Though the combined position is responsible for both developing city policies and providing legal advice on those policies, the mayor said he does not believe having the same person do both jobs creates a conflict of interest.

"I'm very comfortable," he said.

The administrator's position was added to the city's management strata about two years ago. Until that time, mayors were responsible for day-to-day administration. Furman is paid about $14,400 a year to work in his part-time position.

Noting that running the city is a full-time enterprise, Furman said he looks forward to getting help from Hicks. In addition to handling the city's legal affairs, she will probably do policy research on the city's proposed sewer expansion and train to fill in for some of the city's department heads. Furman said there is quite a bit to do after a few months without an administrator.

"I've got a whole stack of things for her to review," he said.

Lucas continued to work through this week as the city's attorney by telephone. When he left the city, he also resigned as the city's prosecutor. That slot has yet to be filled.

Hicks was not available for comment this week.

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