Select Board Reviews Town Counsel Performance
by Connie Sartini,
Town Manager Mark Haddad advised the Select Board that if the Board wants to make any changes in Town Counsel, he would need time to put out a Request for Proposal (RFP).
He reviewed the legal budget to date - noting the town spent $117,000 through April, with $36,000 for KP Law and $62,000 with Town Counsel Brooks & Derensis, $18,000 of which went for work with the Conservation Commission. He suggested that he plans to ask for an additional $40,000, and stressed, “This is a 400 percent increase over last year.” The original legal budget was $90,000.
Acting Select Board Chair Alison Manugian asked Haddad for a spread sheet to identify what he had said the Conservation Commission was not happy about Town Counsel. Selectman Josh Degen also asked for a spread sheet that showed how much was spent on litigation, and general legal services so that “there is an apples to apples comparison to last year.”
Brooks & Derensis chief litigation Attorney Kimberly Salliant presented the Board with a list of the firm’s major accomplishments through May 14.
There was a question of the transfer of case materials from KP Law – the town’s former counsel to new town counsel Brooks & Derensis and the need for the new firm to reconstruct a litigation case in preparation to go to trial.
At the May 20 Board meeting, there was a very brief discussion, and the Board and the legal team from Brooks & Derensis provided Selectman Degen with the date he had requested earlier.
Because the Board had scheduled an Executive Session to discuss an ethics complaint, it was agreed that the Board and Town Counsel would continue their discussion at the Board’s next meeting on June 3.