Adventures in City Attorney Land, Part Deux
On March 12th, the Snellville City Council unanimously approved the City Attorney engagement letter of Kevin Tallant, a partner in the firm of Miles Patterson Hansford Tallant, LLC. The rapidity with which this action was taken (two weeks after he was appointed) and the universal agreement of all Council members has brought a different perspective to the controversy regarding the engagement letter of the previous (interim) attorney, which was never approved.
Many people thought that the “alpha dogs” on Council were simply trying to throw roadblocks in front of the mayor. In fact, as previously stated, a majority of Council members were simply of the opinion that Stuart Oberman not only lacked the proper qualifications to serve the best interests of the city, but that many of his charges were excessive and unjustified. Some of those charges were for work performed prior both his appointment, and to new members of the Council being sworn into office. (Those charges were subsequently removed from his bill.). Based on the number of reversed opinions, unanswered questions and general lack of responsiveness, the opinions of a majority of Council members appear to be entirely justified. (For specific details, click the following link to read the actual e-mails between Council members and the City Attorney- http://snellvilletoday.com/blog/2012/02/16/emails-shed-light-on-city-attorney-controversy/ )
In contrast, Mr. Tallant brought with him an impressive resume and a letter of engagement that detailed the specific services he would perform, (as opposed to schedule of fees with a few words sprinkled around). When asked for more definition about certain details regarding his services, Mr. Tallant responded almost immediately with relevant information. And his responsiveness and qualifications were very much in evidence during the first work session and public meeting he attended. Another encouraging sign- to ensure that the City is properly served should he be unable to attend a meeting in the future, Mr. Tallant brought associate attorney Lauren Giles with him, so that she could learn about (some would say “experience”) the Council and its members first hand. The city was not charged for Ms.Giles time.
Looking to the future, I hope that much of the drama that characterized the past four months will be absent. That will probably disappoint some people, but I’m looking forward to being able to concentrate more on serving the interests of the citizens by taking positive steps, rather than by addressing problems that should have never existed.