The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


April 23, 2014

New legal services agreement proceeds


“I don’t charge an hourly rate and the previous city attorney didn’t charge an hourly rate,” Kinser said, adding she heard throughout the winter budget process about how decreased spending was the council’s priority. “So that is a new component for you all to think about.”

O’Connell said he considers the city to be his client, meaning whenever an individual council member contacts him, it’s on behalf of Clinton.

“I would assume you’re calling me in your capacity as a member of the city council, not just to say ‘Hey, I need some advice,’ “ he said, drawing chuckles. “Don’t laugh, because I’ve seen it happen.

“Any councilperson that calls me and says they need my advice, you would have to understand that having had the conversation, I would have to disclose that as a person who’s another member of the body I represent.”

Lynch Dallas did not list prosecuting services in the contract, citing the physical distance between the firm and city as a reason against handling daily courtroom work. The morning following the meeting, Kinser issued an RFP for prosecutor services, with plans for a similar process as filling the city attorney vacancy.

The prosecutor role is also a new arrangement for Clinton. As such, some ordinance changes are necessary. For the new city attorney and prosecutor to officially work, Kinser spelled out the “legal services” definition.

As a Clinton native, O’Connell said he was “enthusiastic” about working for the city since he learned about the job opening.

“We’re in this infancy stage where no one knows how this is going to work,” he said, assuring the council things will clear up as time moves forward.

On behalf of his firm, Clinton attorney John Frey thanked the council for working with him on an interim basis for the last three months.

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