20191023_rr_klinker

Ralston Mayor Don Groesser, left, is sworn into his fifth term as mayor of Ralston by City Attorney Mark Klinker in 2012.

Mark Klinker is stepping down as Ralston’s city attorney effective Dec. 17. The announcement was made at the Oct. 15 City Council meeting.

Klinker has served in Ralston government for four decades, including one term on the City Council from 1979 to 1982.

In 1984, Ralston collected its own payment for garbage collection and sewer use. When residents became delinquent, Klinker was in charge of collecting the payments.

Klinker became city attorney in 1992.

In a letter to the mayor and council, Klinker wrote he was reminded that with city employees coming and going, “the city has moved apace, facing whatever challenges may have appeared.”

“I carry a lot of history of the city,” Klinker said in an interview. “I’ve known a lot of the characters of the city and learned from them all.”

Klinker said the various development projects in the landlocked city and seeing how they would all fit together has been interesting.

“It’s always a challenge to do things in the city because you almost always have to tear something down before you build something up,” Klinker said.

With numerous city employees rotating in and out over the years, Klinker views his exit as an opening for someone new to step in. He said this idea of continuity has to be adopted by everybody at City Hall.

“Don (Groesser) has been mayor now for 23 years and he has done such a great job,” Klinker said, “but time marches on. There’s going to have to be some other people to step up.

“I served under a lot of mayors, city clerks and council members and having those relationships is what kept me going.”

Klinker has one thing on his mind that he would like to do as his last official act.

In his letter to the mayor and council, Klinker recommended Don Ficenec replace him as city attorney. If the city were to agree, Klinker said he would be honored to swear in Ficenec on Dec. 17.

Ficenec practices law in the same building as Klinker and has assisted him with a number of Ralston legal matters over the past year.

With more than four decades of Ralston knowledge in his head, Klinker realizes there will be times the city might call him for help.

Klinker said he is planning to continue his work at his private practice law firm.

“I’ll be here. I am not retiring from the practice of law,” he said.

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