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City to hire lawyer for upcoming court date
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   City Manager Frank Parker was given the go-ahead Tuesday to hire an attorney for an impending court hearing involving the City of Statesboro.
    In an executive session during a scheduled council meeting at city hall, council members agreed to enlist the services of Savannah-based attorney Patrick O’Connor to represent the city in a Nov. 1, Bulloch County Superior Court hearing.
    “I am going to, on my authority, make [O’Connor] our attorney for this case,” said Parker. “He will be acting city attorney for the forthcoming meeting.”
    O’Connor will be afforded his standard pay-rate, said Parker.
    The November hearing was requested by a citizen-group that will seek more than $18,000 in legal fees associated with a city appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court earlier this year.
    The group, who prevailed in a case that charged the city with violating Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, asked for the hearing to recoup monies used for legal expenses and fees incurred since September 2010, when the city appealed the original superior court ruling – the decision was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court Sept. 12, 2011.
    Parker sought legal council because a new city attorney will not be in place quickly enough for the upcoming hearing, he said.
    “It was imperative to me that action had to be taken. We could not appeal to Judge (John) Turner without an attorney,” said Parker. “We are currently interviewing for a new city attorney. We will make a recommendation to council hopefully at the next meeting. But the new attorney will not begin working with the city in time for this case.”
    Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1 at
9 a.m.
   
    Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.

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