City Council okays lawyer agreement

May 25, 2013

The Granbury City Council gave its unanimous approval Tuesday night to a partnership that will allow the city attorney to work for a local law firm.

Despite that vote, at least one council member wants the month-to-month agreement to soon be replaced by a new, in-house attorney.

Council member Tony Allen said Wednesday morning that he is not particularly happy with the arrangement, which involves the city paying $9,000 per month to the Law Office of Bush and Hyde, PLLC.

A year’s worth of legal representation by that firm will cost the city $108,000.

By not paying Stuart Neal’s salary and benefits, the $108,000 figure will save the city about $22,000, Allen said.

Despite that savings, Allen said he would prefer to have an attorney based at City Hall.

“I feel like we need a full-time, in-house attorney,” he said.

Allen said that another council member shared his opinion, but the Hood County News was unable to reach that council member to confirm it. Allen indicated that he may encourage his colleagues to search for a replacement for Neal.

Attorney Paul Hyde was present at the council meeting and gave the HCN a written statement about the new partnership involving his firm.

“By contracting with Bush and Hyde, Granbury now has a trained staff, paralegals and five attorneys on-call to provide exceptional research, drafting and litigation support for Granbury.”

The city’s legal needs will continue to be Neal’s top priority, Hyde said.

Allen stated that the closed session negotiations that began two weeks ago were the first time he ever heard that Neal needed support staff.

Tuesday night, the city issued a written statement about the new agreement with Neal through Shanna Smith, marketing and communications director.

“Neal, in his capacity as city attorney, will continue to attend the Granbury City Council meetings, but will now have a support structure in place to most efficiently serve the citizens of Granbury,” the statement said.

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