Newport City Council officially hires former City Attorney Rob Connell to reclaim the job – part time.
Former City Attorney Rob Connell was officially rehired Monday as Newport’s “local” City Attorney. Connell will provide general legal services part time to the city council while monitoring “specialty” legal services provided to city public works and community development by another set of attorneys in Eugene.
It’s another chapter in a long running effort to hold down city attorney costs. The last three groups of city councilors have tried various arrangements from having a full time city attorney, to an out-of-town city attorney, back to a part-time “local” city attorney but with the out-of-town firm still handling “specialty items” for the community development and public works departments. Most cities have a city attorney who performs nearly all legal services but contracts out in those rare instances where an unusually high level of legal expertise is required on an issue. But Newport city councilors want to try this hybrid approach anyway to see if it can work for the city and save the taxpayers some money.
Connell will work as the city council’s “general counsel” for ten hours a week to start. The council agrees that Connell’s work week could become more than that depending on how things go. Connell is a very experienced government attorney, having been Newport’s former City Attorney and a Chief Deputy Attorney General in Salem. Both Community Development Director Derrick Tokos and Public Works Director Tim Gross, who insisted on this hybrid arrangement, will be given unfettered access to the Eugene law firm and will let Connell know what projects that require the specialty services they’re receiving from the Eugene firm.
We’ll see how much money they save.