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Whenever any officer, department, board or commission shall require legal advice concerning his or its official business or whenever any legal question or dispute arises or litigation is commenced or to be commenced in which any officer, department, board or commission is officially concerned or whenever any taxes or other accounts of whatever kind due the City remain overdue and unpaid for a period of ninety days it shall be the duty of such officer, department, board or commission, to refer the same to the Law Department.
It shall be the duty of any officer, department, board or commission having requested and received legal advice from the Law Department regarding his or its official duty, to follow the same; and when any officer shall follow the advice given him in writing by the Law Department he shall not be liable in any way for so doing upon his official bond or otherwise.
Before the Law Department shall render any opinion interpreting any appropriation ordinance or ordinance authorizing the expenditure of money, it shall notify the City Controller of the question upon which its opinion has been requested and afford him an opportunity to present his views upon the question.
It shall be unlawful for any officer, department, board or commission to engage any attorney to represent him or it in any matter or thing relating to his or its public business without the approval in writing of the City Solicitor.
Sources: The Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, Section 512; Act of June 25, 1919, P.L. 581, Article XIII, Section 5.
Purposes: 1. This section implements Section 4-400. It seeks to prevent the practice of each officer and agency having its own counsel. It thereby makes possible an effective and well organized, central law agency.
2. Officers and agencies requesting and receiving legal advice from the Law Department must follow it. Resort may not be had to other counsel, except with the consent of the City Solicitor, for other advice nor may such other advice even if obtained be followed except at personal risk, a consequence from which an officer or agency is absolved if the advice of the Law Department is followed.
3. Questions involving the interpretation of appropriation ordinances or other ordinances authorizing the expenditure of money must be referred to the City Controller for his views since he is the City's auditor and will ultimately be required to pass upon the propriety of all expenditures of City funds.