During a special meeting on Tuesday, the city council interviewed nine law firms seeking to provide legal services to the city.
All the firms had submitted written bids in response to the Shores’ request for proposals that was advertised in late winter of this year.
The proposals were opened and read at a public meeting on April 13, Mark Wollenweber, Interim City Manager said.
The council is in search of an attorney to represent the city as general counsel on municipal matters as well as to provide prosecution services. This year’s budget designates $100,000 for legal services and Mayor Ted Kedzierski repeated through Tuesday’s meeting that the council was seeking “budget certainty” regarding legal fees.
Presently three firms represent the Shores on legal matters.
Mark McInerney, of Clark Hill Law Firm, has provided legal services to the city for about 25 years and is currently the city’s attorney. The firm O’Reily Rancillio provides prosecutorial services for the Shores, and Keller Thoma represents the city on labor matters.
The city’s request for proposal only sought bids for the general counsel and prosecutor functions as Keller Thoma will continue to handle labor issues, Wollenweber said.
Council members questioned each of the nine firms about municipal legal experience as well as any services that were excluded in their bid for a
Applicants were also asked about any conflict of interests that may arise from either their current or past clients as several firms also represent neighboring cities in either municipal or prosecutorial matters.
The nine firms interviewed on Tuesday were:
- Foster Swift
- Hafeli, Staran, Hallanhan & Christ
- Charles Berschback
- Ihrie O’Brien
- Kitch Attorneys & Counselors
- Beier Howlett
- O’Reilly Rancillio
- Clark Hill
- Abbott, Nicholson
The decision to request bids for legal services was born of a tight economy and the council’s desire to reduce the city’s overhead costs. Other budget line items, such as engineering services, have also been put out for bid.
“It was a consideration of the finance committee, to look at the biggest vendors the city has, where we spend the most money, and then to see if there are alternatives that could save us money,” Wollenweber said.
The legal services contract is listed on the agenda for discussion at the regular council meeting on Aug. 21 and the council could vote to award it at that time.