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Quincy fires city attorney amid questions over fees

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By Alice Du Pont

Larry White, attorney for the city of Quincy for the past 10 years, was fired Tuesday night during the regular bi-monthly meeting. For several meetings, several commissioners have complained that White’s salary is too high and that they were not satisfied with the quality of his work.

“It’s a trust issue. I make a motion that the city manager and city attorney be terminated,” said Commissioner Micah Brown. That motion was seconded by Commissioner Derrick Elias and failed. Elias then made a motion to fire only White, which was seconded by Brown, and it passed.

Brown and Elias said they were concerned about the amount of money White invoicing the city. 

In addition to being the attorney for the commission, White also represented several citizen advisory boards, including the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Planning Development Board.

“I did not ask for this job. Ten years ago, I was asked to stay on temporarily for 90 days. That went on until Mrs. (Denise) Hannah asked when I was going to get a contract,” White said.

“It’s unbelievable to me, the invoices. I have to be able to trust the person I work with,” Brown said.

“To come here and insinuate that I have done something wrong is horrendous,” White told Brown.

“That’s it for me,” White said before leaving the room.

“Now, what are we going to do for a city attorney?” asked Mayor Keith Dowdell.

“Mr. McLean is an attorney and he can do some of these day-to-day things,” said Commissioner Andy Gay.

McLean did caution that the audit will require an opinion from the attorney. If the city hires an attorney to render an opinion on the audit, it could cost the city between $5,000 and $10,000. 

A special meeting to hire an interim attorney convened July 24 at 5 p.m.

McLean suggested two people: Jeremy Jerome Miller and former Tallahassee City Attorney Jim English.

McLean said he believed White would be willing to write an opinion for the audit and he would probably do it for $1,500. 

“He has been very gracious, and he doesn’t want to see the city in this difficult position,” he said.

The discussion then turned to requesting proposals for a permanent attorney. 

Each commissioner will see the job description and make recommendations before the position is advertised.