Council approval of contracted legal services
|Meeting Date:||December 4, 2007||Primary Staff Contact:||Richard Appicello|
|Department:||City Attorney's Office||E-mail:||Appicelr@ashland.or.us|
|Secondary Dept.:||Finance||Secondary Contact:||Lee Tuneberg|
|Approval:||Administration/Legal||Estimate Time:||Consent Agenda|
(1) Does the City Council wish to consolidate the legal service contracts with Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC. and authorize the approval of one contract, exclusive of Mt. Ashland, with a total not to exceed $175,000.?
(2) Does the Council wish to terminate any of the existing contracts for legal services?
(3) Does the Council wish to alter the practice under the current AMC of retaining outside legal counsel on an as needed, case by case basis, when the contract for a single legal matter does not exceed $50,000. [Legal services are exempt from formal competitive selection pursuant to AMC 2.52.050.E. and personal service contracts on a single legal matter can be administratively approved if the contract does not exceed $50,000.00.]
(1) Staff recommends Council grant authorization to consolidate Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC. contracts, exclusive of Mt. Ashland., with a total not to exceed $175,000.
(2) Staff does not recommend termination of any legal services contracts.
(3) Staff does not recommend a change in use of the existing AMC exemption for legal service contracts, except that the Legal Department will continue to give the Council the opportunity to review, consolidate or terminate when all contracts with a firm are estimated to exceed $50,000, regardless of the number of legal matters.
The City of Ashland has been experiencing an uncharacteristic surge in litigation and LUBA appeals in the preceding six months to a year. With the legal department at less than full staff (past seven months), the City Attorney's office sought informal proposals from several firms known for performing work for local governments. While proposals were received from three firms, availability of legal personnel was limited. The Eugene firm of Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC ended up with many of the recent cases based on just timing.. Under City public contract rules, this kind of personal services contract is exempt from formal competitive selection. (AMC 2.52.050 E.) Each of the several City personal services contracts executed is for a separate and distinct legal matter (except for a consolidated appeal in the Nevada Street litigation.). Under AMC 2.50 City staff can approve a personal services contract up to $50,000 for a single matter or project. Although these legal service contracts are not fairly consolidated as one legal matter (they are different cases with different firm attorneys) it is appropriate to advise the Council of the contracts and expenditures and provide an opportunity for consolidation or termination, Budget transfers in the future will also likely be necessary to cover the larger than expected expenditures for unexpected litigation.
A summary of pending cases is set forth on the chart below. Many of the pending cases currently have low expenditures because the cases have stalled due to filing of technical objections. (e.g. LUBA record objections have been filed in two cases, delaying the time for filing the petition). While some costs savings could be realized with early resolution and/or settlement of some cases, the listed "not to exceed" amounts are realistic estimates.
The Council can expect a formal budget transfer as outside legal costs will likely exceed budgeted amounts despite savings from two vacant Legal Department staff positions. Currently all expenditures for outside legal counsel are within budgeted amounts.
|Related City Policies:|
AMC Chapter 2.52 Personal Services. AMCChapter 2.50 Public Contracting.
(1) Council grant authorization to consolidate Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC. contracts, exclusive of Mt. Ashland., with a total not to exceed $175,000.
(2) Council could direct termination of one or more legal services contracts.
Move to authorize and approve of one consolidated personal services contract with Harrang Long Gary Rudnick PC, exclusive of Mt. Ashland, with a total not to exceed $175,000.