The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

January 10, 2014

City Council unanimous on temporary counsel

CLINTON — A major hole on city staff hasn’t been entirely filled, but following Thursday’s unanimous Clinton City Council approval, the law group Frey, Haufe and Current, P.L.C. will serve as the temporary patch to cover while city leaders begin the search for a full-time city attorney.

That conversation is slated to begin next week, as Mayor Mark Vullich announced during the afternoon special meeting that finding a new city attorney is on the agenda for Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. This in the wake of Jeff Farwell’s resignation.

“The Committee of the Whole that takes place on Tuesday that is an agenda item,” Vullich said. “We will have an actual Committee of the Whole discussion about the plan.”

FHC was the only group slated for approval by the council. Now, Clinton and the firm are under a limited engagement counsel contract that stipulates temporary legal representation while waiving conflict of interest with other groups the firm represents within the city. FHC is billing the city at a rate of $160 per hour.

Potential conflicts of interest, labeled by FHC include the Clinton Business Park Development Corporation - currently in a development agreement with the city. FHC also jointly represents Clinton and the Clinton Regional Development Corp. as special counsel related to the Lincolnway Rail Park. And Attorney Randy Current represents the Clinton County Board of Supervisors.

“We wanted to be sure this change in circumstances did not affect (those situations),” said attorney John Frey on behalf of the firm. “We’re here to help if you want us to help. It’s dangerous to operate without having your staff and yourselves having access to legal advice.”

The council has the right to terminate the contract immediately. If FHC chooses to terminate, it must provide 30 days written notice.

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