BoCC debates legal counsel options

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By Robert Allen

Debate concerning the Gadsden County Commission’s legal representation continued at their regular meeting May 20. Preferences for different law firms varied among commissioners. 

Commissioner Doug Croley said he would like to continue with the county’s current legal advisors, the Ausley Law Firm, for sake of continuity. He then motioned accordingly. Commissioner Gene Morgan seconded the motion. 

“We have been provided good services and fair costs,” said Morgan. “And I think we should commend our current firm for that.”

Morgan also said Ausley employs Gadsden County residents. 

Commissioner Brenda Holt objected, arguing Ausley already represents too many local business entities, which may present conflicts of interest with the county. She suggested switching to Nabors Law Firm. 

“I want something in writing that says you defend the county above all,” said Holt. “We need some assurance of what’s going to happen.”

Commissioner Sherrie Taylor agreed. She said she was not receiving information in a timely manner from the current representation. She also said she didn’t think representation was equal around the board. 

“I’m frustrated,” said Taylor. “I’m still trying my very best to remain professional.”

Hinson initially agreed. He said he wanted to switch to Nabors, citing his inability to communicate with the county’s current representation without being charged. But then he said he started considering the numbers.

“They did everything we told them to do,” said Hinson. “I believe in being fair. Anything I do, I believe in looking at the total picture. I think we’re talking too much about it. “

Croley countered Holt and Taylor, saying all the law firms the county considered have been good law firms — but a sense of respect and a desire for continuity left him disinclined to sever an existing relationship. 

When Croley’s motion came to a vote, Holt and Taylor opposed it, allowing the Ausley Law Firm to currently continue representing Gadsden County.