The ending of Casper City Attorney Bill Luben's 16-year tenure with City Council was amicable and a long time coming, Mayor Kenyne Humphrey said Tuesday.

"This has been in consideration now for a while now," Humphrey said after the regular council meeting.

"It was definitely a mutual agreement," she said.

Councilmember Charlie Powell commended his work and wished him well during the meeting. "I wish him the best in his retirement."

Humphrey did not know what his plans for the future would be. He could not be reached for comment.

"He worked very, very hard and we're grateful for everything he did," she said.

Of Luben's legal advice, the case he and other city attorneys brought against Rocky Mountain Power garnered millions of dollars of repairs and improvements for the community's electrical service, Humphrey said.

Luben gave advice on other matters, too, some not without controversy:

  • In February, he and Assistant City Attorney Wallace Trembath outlined the issues of council allowing public prayers and.or a moment of silence before meetings. Council voted down the proposal at a work session. Tuesday, prayer advocate Dale Zimmerle asked council to revisit the issue.
  • In July 2016, council informally turned down a request to let council chambers be used for candidate debates after Luben advised that the chambers are a limited public forum and that making that a public forum could lead to problems.
  • In September 2015, Luben advised council about its options regarding the citywide smoking ban.
  • In June 2015, he recused himself from representing the city when a resident sued the city about the interpretation of the Wyoming Public Meetings Act regarding former City Manager John Patterson's employment.
  • In October 2014, Luben caution council about conducting investigations regarding businesses' finances in matters such as liquor license transfers, because it could result in council appearing capricious in its decisions.

The City Council and Luben agreed to terminate his at-will contract on Aug. 24, and it became effective Aug. 31, according to the council's agenda.

Council formally approved the termination of his contract at Tuesday's meeting, and also approved the appointment of Assistant City Attorney William Chambers as interim city attorney.

Humphrey does not see any pending pressing issues that will require careful legal navigation, she said. I'm hoping that things will quiet down."

Luben is among several high-ranking city employees who were terminated or who resigned this year, including former Police Chief Jim Wetzel and former City Manager V.H. McDonald.

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