More Lawyering

This week I was in charge of attorney issues. We finally got the documents from the court case we won, but tons and tons was redacted. I had to get on the phone with two attorneys and argue why what they did overstepped the court order. I was happy to be able to successfully negotiate this one away seeing as the other option was going back to the courts, but considering all the holes in the paperwork that would have been a viable option.

And then there was the matter of abolishing the budget committee and whether that violates Conway’s charter. I was on the phone with the town attorney, asking if he thought the ballot question to transform the budget committee from a board with statutory authority into advisory-only was legal when I pointed out a way the voters could wind up eliminating the budget committee all together, which would put the town in violation of its charter. The town attorney’s response: “That’s a good point.”

I’m not sure what attorney’s get to talk to me, but I know what I get to talk to them and it isn’t much. Sometimes its fun to push people outside your paygrade.

That is essentially what journalism is, I guess — asking people who ought to know the answers basic questions to test them. Late last year I got to challenge candidates vying the U.S. Presidency. One of them makes more in a day than I make in a year (guess which one). If that isn’t quizzing above your pay grade I don’t know what is.

The nice thing about being a reporter is you aren’t being paid by any side. You are being paid to find the truth. Press every side, then press them again, and if something that appeared right before goes sour press it until it pops.

I had back-to-back hour long conversation/arguments this past week about the court case we won, both of them on the phone. Coworkers were stealing glances my way, wondering who I was sparing with. At the end someone said they wanted to buy me a coffee because I’d had such a rough couple of days. I, however, couldn’t keep the smile off my face. Pushing like that is why I do the job. Who wants to be an attorney — those guys are paid to defend their client. I’m paid to defend whoever is right.

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