Following 41 years of service from Ted Pasley, the city of Ardmore is seeking an attorney. There will be one change, as the new city attorney will be in-house, focusing solely on the business of the city, rather than balancing the city and a private practice.
"We have discussed the concept of a full-time, in-house attorney over the last several years," says city manager J.D. Spohn. "We are reaching a point where we feel the city would be best served with a full-time service. There is a convenience of having an attorney that you can walk down the hall for consultation and is accessible."
Spohn said other cities the size of Ardmore have hired in-house counsel or are trending toward the practice. He also said the city discussed the concept with Pasley, who elected to stay with his current practice, Pasley & Farabough.
"We appreciate Ted very much, his loyalty and long-term service to the city is very much appreciated," Spohn says.
Pasley's service to the city ended June 30, the end of the fiscal year. The city posted the job opening during the last fiscal year, but was unable to identify a new attorney.
"We thought we might have made the requirements too restrictive," Spohn says. "We received eight to 10 applications, and conducted two interviews. One person withdrew for family reasons, and we decided to re-advertise the position with less restrictive qualifications."
The city is looking for applicants with a minimum of four years experience in general areas of practices. Previously, the city had been looking for applicants with only city experience. Preference will still be given to those with city experience. Compensation will depend on qualifications and experience, although the salary could range from $80,000 to $95,000.
Pasley was on retainer by the city for $8,203.69 annually plus benefits, which increased his salary to $19,536.99. In addition to retainer, Pasley billed for legal services rendered to the city. During the last fiscal year, Pasley's firm, Pasley & Farabough billed the city $95,208.50. Gary Farabough performed workers' compensation work for the city, and billed $15,416.76.
The city also employed Margaret Love's services during the fiscal year. Spohn said Love has advised the city in union labor issues for more than 15 years. During the 2012-13 fiscal year, Love billed the city $80,786.98. The number was significantly higher than her average billing, which city clerk Ken Campbell estimated to be between $16,000 and $22,000 a year.
Spohn said Love's services expanded into other areas during the past year, which resulted in higher billing.
"We had some unexpected issues come up and we asked her to help us with them," Spohn said. "Those included the water tower issues, some issues relating to the Ardmore Development Authority trust indenture and the lease agreement with the ADA at the air park. We have also used her in a lawsuit against Luke Pollard and on Open Record Act requests from The Ardmoreite relating to personnel issues."
While the city conducts its search for a new attorney, it is employing Justin Landgraf for general issues, as well as Love. Spohn said the expenses accrued during this period are not as expensive to the city, since there is not an attorney on retainer during this time period.