With the City of Statesboro still lacking permanent legal council, City Manager Frank Parker will seek approval today to appoint an attorney for an impending court date.
Parker, who says he is doubtful that the city’s vacant staff attorney position will be filled in time for an upcoming superior court hearing, will ask City Council during its regular meeting to hire Savannah-based lawyer Patrick O’Connor for legal services pertaining to current and potential cases.
Council will hear the request during its scheduled meeting in City Hall’s second floor council chambers at 6 p.m.
The hiring would provide the City of Statesboro with representation for a November 1 Bulloch County Superior Court hearing in which a citizen-group will seek more than $18,000 in legal fees associated with a city appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court.
The group, who prevailed in a case that charged the city with violating Georgia’s Open Meetings Act, requested the hearing to recoup monies used for legal expenses and fees incurred since September 2010, when the city appealed the superior court’s ruling — the original decision was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court this year (Sept. 12).
“We will eventually bring another staff attorney onboard, but that will not be quick enough for them to be involved in this case,” said Parker — interviews for a new staff attorney are being conducted this week, he said. “So, I am going to ask council at the meeting to give me the authority to hire an outside attorney to deal with the situation.”
“We will have an executive session during the meeting, and hopefully [O’Connor] becomes our full-blown attorney. He will be used not only for this case, but anything else in the future,” he said.
O’Connor, who worked with the city in the past, is already discussing the case with Dan Snipes, of Franklin, Taulbee, Rushing, Snipes, and Marsh, who is representing the suing party, said Parker.
In other business Tuesday, council will entertain motions to amend a chapter of the Statesboro Code of Ordinances that pertains to solid waste (remove outdated sections and update wording to reflect current practices), declare four sanitation division vehicles as surplus to be auctioned, and approve the purchase of a Dell KACE K Series Appliance for information technology applications in an amount not to exceed $21,648.60.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.