People share mixed feelings on paying for Yakima Councilman's legal fees - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

People share mixed feelings on paying for Yakima Councilman's legal fees

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YAKIMA, Wash.- Yakima City Council member Rick Ensey is facing a possible recall. This is the first one ever in Yakima.

Last week, two people filed charges to recall city council man Rick Ensey from office. A superior court judge will decide whether the case has merit, but in the meantime, Ensey needs a lawyer. Tuesday night city council members voted to cover his costs.

"I thought it was just an obligation to give support to my colleague and I'd do it for any other colleague," said Councilman Bill Lover.

Most council members were in support of paying for Ensey's legal fees, but not everyone thinks tax-payer money should be used for this. Councilwoman Sonia Rodriguez says this issue raises many questions.

"I feel I don't know enough information, I don't know how much its going to be, I don't know how much an attorney is going to charge," said Councilwoman Rodriguez.

We spoke to law firms in Yakima and they said the average cost to hire an attorney is around $185 an hour. Depending on how complicated and long this recall takes, attorneys say the fees could range anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000.

"I can share that concern but I don't think they'll be that high in comparison to many other legal fees we pay," said Lover.

While many council members think this issue is worth paying for, many Yakima tax-payers don't and question the council's decision.

"City council needs to be more frugal with the money spent and I don't think any of this is a necessary thing that's happening. This is something that should have been nipped in the bud," said Ruth Weller, a concerned resident.

Ensey did not return our phone calls. The next step in this process is to find an attorney for the court hearing. If the judge approves the first step in a recall process, supporters will go after 4,200 signatures to put the issue on a special election.