Star Valley Taking Bids For New Town Attorney

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The Town of Star Valley is looking for a new town attorney, which could turn out to be its current one.

The law firm of Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre and Freidlander who has been the attorney for the town since its incorporation, have been working without a contract since July 1. Before it can hire a full-time attorney, the town council must decide what salary it can afford to pay.

The current firm is paid $175 an hour, which could be increased to $200 an hour if a senior attorney was ever needed. The town would also be obligated to pay $140 an hour for work provided by a junior attorney.

The Town of Star Valley last week issued a request for proposals for a town attorney.

Town Manager Lanny Sloan said the town must receive proposals no later than Sept. 1. The council will then review the proposals before making its final decision at the Oct. 3 meeting.

Sloan said money is a deciding factor.

"Cost is one of the things the town is looking at," Sloan said.

The town paid the firm Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre and Freidlander between $65,000 to $67,000 this past year.

Sloan said the last two months was particularly expensive, as the town needed a lot of legal advice on all the codes the town was incorporating.

He said due to the town just incorporating, there are numerous items the new attorney will be involved in.

Among those issues are protection of water rights within the community, adoption of codes, rules and regulations necessary in a new community, annexation, intergovernmental agreements, and ordinance and resolution construction reviews.

Sloan said the town wants to look at several proposals.

"We are just interested who is out there," he said.

Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre and Freidlander has informed the town it will stay on as its attorney until the council chooses a permanent one. It also has told the town that it will be submitting a proposal for the new contract.

Sloan said any attorney the town contracts out with will be hired on an as-needed basis.

The Star Valley town manager said, while it would be beneficial to have an attorney who lives in the area, it is not the most important thing for the town.

"That would be helpful, but one of the things is finding someone with municipal city government (experience)," Sloan said.

Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre and Freidlander is based out of the Valley, and one of its attorneys, usually Fredda Bisman, makes the trip to attend council meetings.

Council member Mary Ann Kotelnicki said she really did not have an opinion on who the next town attorney should be.

"(Bisman) has been very good to us, and she is a brilliant woman," she said. "We just want to see what is out there."

-- To reach Michael Maresh call 474-5251 ext. 112 or e-mail mmaresh@payson.com.

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