Last winter I wrote about the City Attorney and why the city had not taken "bids" to see if the services and costs were in line with what was expected.
In preparation for these new articles I wrote the Mayor and asked if she would comment. Her reply was that the City Attorney job is not a bid position. It is, rather, a personnel matter and that the Mayor and council would have a closed meeting to discuss this if so warranted.
Actually this was done over a year ago. A prominent attorney who has served other cities was called in to speak with us. The council did not seem very impressed and that was that, we continued on with Brock, Clay and Calhoun.
The Mayor said that she would "look around" and see if there were other attorneys who we might like to interview. Of course, none of that happened. The issue has been brought up at Retreats and it was, I thought, the consensus that we should entertain other proposals although it was never certain that we wanted to discharge our current arrangement. So that is where it sits.
Why bring this up? Brock, Clay and Calhoun (BC&C) has been the attorney for over 12 years. I think that there was always some questions about the advice we received from them.
During the years they sent various members of the firm. Mr. Calhoun has stayed the longest. He is an expert on issues such as zoning. My point was that it would not hurt to have some different perspectives and I believe that most of the council agreed at different times.
Since I served 12 years the council has changed at different times due to retirements and I think that I am correct in saying that there was always a majority who favored at least looking at other attorneys for service, expertise and costs.
I don't think that it is too much to ask our elected officials to review legal council from time-to-time. Over the years I have seen their role and the importance of such, to increase in importance.
For instance, does the attorney give an opinion based on the law and the ramifications of our decision? Or is the attorney worried that if their decision is not what the elected officials want to hear they might be in danger of losing the account?
I cannot honestly impugn the integrity of BC&C, they are very well respected throughout Cobb county. But it is just prudence to not let the same attorneys serve in such an important position for well over 12 years. That is all that I am pointing out and did so during my time especially the last few years.
Thanks for reading and next time I will revisit the City Manager issue.
Thomas D. Bevirt
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