The Institute for Local Government Lawyers (ILGL) is a program started by IMLA geared towards new local government attorneys, law students, as well as seasoned attorneys who need a “refresher” in various general topics of local government law. Instead of a traditional panel setting, ILGL is setup in classroom form, with a more intimate setting and greater ability to present questions to faculty. In many situations, the presenters will be expert academic professionals in their respective fields.

IMLA's ILGL Program

Houston, Texas
Hilton Americas - Houston
October 17, 2018


 Separate registration is required! Click here to register!


*Schedule is tentative and subject to change. Check back frequently for updates.


8:30am to 8:45am

Opening Remarks

Frank B. Gummey, III
City Attorney
New Smyrna Beack, Florida

8:45am to 9:30am

Sunshine Laws—Key Concepts and Hot Topics

Frayda Bluestein
Professor of Public Law and Government
Associate Dean of Faculty Development
UNC School of Government
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Public Record (FOIA) laws and open meeting requirements provide transparency and accountability in local government. New city and county attorneys must be familiar with the basic coverage and scope of the transparency laws that govern their clients, as well as the exceptions that apply (whether by statute or court interpretation). These laws vary from state to state, but some issues are universal. Hot topics to be discussed include electronic records and metadata, virtual meetings and remote participation in meetings, status of records in social media, standing requests, status of citizen information in public records, public information on private devices and accounts, and private information on government devices and accounts. Using scenarios involving common transparency issues as prompts, participants will be invited to talk about the basic rules and emerging issues in their jurisdictions.

9:40am to 10:40 am                 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx                                                                                              


Parliamentary Procedure

Trey Allen
Assistant Professor of Public Law & Government
UNC School of Government
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Municipal and county governing boards are often populated with well-meaning public servants who have little or no understanding of parliamentary procedure. Consequently, they may conduct their meetings informally, applying procedural rules loosely and perhaps even inconsistently. This “down-home” approach might appear to work well when the board is dealing with noncontroversial matters. Yet when controversy arises – and it always does – the result can be multiple motions made in rapid succession and members who are confused about what they are being asked to vote on. In such situations, the presiding officer is likely to seek the advice of counsel. This presentation will arm local government attorneys with basic principles of parliamentary procedure, examine the legal sources of those principles, and review common procedural problems.

10:40am to 10:55am   Coffee Break
10:55am to 11:40am

Fundamentals of Municipal Finance and Borrowing

Eric Shytle
General Counsel, City of Sumter
Sumter, South Carolina

Municipal attorneys are often asked, “Can we do this?”, when “this” relates to getting, spending, and borrowing money by their municipal clients. This session will consider the essential legal issues attendant to that question. We will discuss basic constitutional issues like public purpose, corporate purpose, and lending of the public credit; the theoretical distinction between taxes and fees; the legal ramifications of that distinction; and other limitations on the ways that municipalities can get and spend money. We will also briefly consider the role and types of municipal borrowing. Because the laws vary widely from state to state, the session will focus on issue spotting and general questions that the municipal attorney should consider when asked financial questions.

11:40am to 11:45am Morning Program Evaluations
11:45am to 12:45pm Lunch (provided)
12:45pm to 1:30pm

Land Use Law 101

Jeffrey L. Zyontz
Legislative Attorney
Montgomery County Council
Montgomery County, MD

Land Use Law 101 is designed to serve two audiences. First, for those new to land use law, this is a primer on all the basics you need to know to spot issues and to determine when you need to dig deeper. Second, for the experienced practitioner, it is a comprehensive update of the most recent developments, typically those of the last year, from trial court decisions to the U.S. Supreme Court, all in the context of the issues faced daily in this practice. The focus is on practicality and take-home value.

1:40pm to 2:25pm

Personnel and Employment Law

Roberta "Robin" Cross
Township Attorney
Woodlands Township, Texas

It often has been said that one of the largest components of a local government budget is for personnel and labor costs. While there are many similarities between guiding employers between the public and private sectors, public employers have some additional concerns not faced by their private employment counterparts.

This presentation provides some road maps and guide posts to help navigate through the maze of federal and state statutory employment requirements along with discussion of some common law doctrines particularly focused on the public sector.

Among topics to be addressed are the following:
• The Employment Framework – Employee, Volunteer or Independent Contractor; At Will Status
• Overview of Selected Federal and State Labor Laws
• Constitutional Protections for Public Employees, Including Employee Speech
• The Life Cycle of Employment from Hiring to Discipline to Termination
• The Municipal Attorney’s Role

2:25pm to 2:40pm Coffee Break
2:40pm to 3:40pm


Chuck Thompson
IMLA Executive Director
Rockville, MD

Representing a local government provides opportunities for great satisfaction as well as many challenges. Among the latter are issues arising from the many opposing and possibly conflicting concerns facing a municipality. The municipal lawyer may be asked for guidance from multiple sources and on multiple occasions. The standard ethics rule guidance is to note that the municipal attorney's client is the municipal corporation itself. But that guidance needs clarification in the real world. For example, who is the client when individual governing board members make legal inquiries? To whom are confidential duties owed? Who may waive confidentiality? How may municipal lawyers interact with officials or employees on "personal" matters? When do conflicts of interest arise, and how can municipal lawyers anticipate them with 20-20 hindsight? This session seeks to provide an interactive review of these and other issues which arise in the course of providing legal advice and guidance to a municipality.

3:50pm to 4:50pm


DeWitt “Mac” McCarley Partner, Parker Poe
Charlotte, North Carolina

This presentation will outline the steps in preparing for a negotiation, discuss factors to consider in picking a strategy, and demonstrate both how to use and how to counter some of the most common negotiation tactics.

4:50pm to 5:00pm Afternoon Program Evaluations


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