Long time Lincoln City City Attorney Joan Kelsey has notified the city that when her current employment contract is up for renewal at the end of the year, she will not again be signing on the dotted line. In a letter to Mayor Dick Anderson she announced that she will be moving on. It is well known that Kelsey is married to a doctor and that they’ve been accumulating grandchildren over the years. Could it be they might want to spend more time with family rather than having Joan commuting to Lincoln City from their Tillamook home twice a month (an hour each way), plus all the hours involved in being an attorney for a very busy city.
Mayor Anderson praised Kelsey’s professional services to the city and wishes her well. However, Mayor Anderson was emphatic that he would like to see Kelsey stay on via a separate contract to finish up some very complex legal issues still in the works, not the least of which is the Roads End Annexation. Kelsey has been a strategic architect in formulating a way forward for the city to annex Roads End. A group of Roads End residents, staunchly opposed to the move, has vowed to pursue legal action in an effort to stop it.
From this reporters viewpoint, Joan Kelsey has been an city attorney’s City Attorney, adeptly skipping about municipal, county and state laws with the greatest of ease and competence. Her talent for successfully describing complex laws and issues to lay people on the city council is also top drawer. But there have been a number of strategic moments over the past few years when she felt it necessary to stand her ground, (if not plant the flag) motivated by an intricate appreciation of opportunities and risks for the city and what options should be strongly considered.
Although news reporters are not allowed to divulge the content of city council executive sessions, I can say that Joan Kelsey, even behind closed doors and sometimes with highly partisan and outspoken players, can more than hold her own in the most spirited of exchanges.
Joan Kelsey has most definitively left her mark.