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City's attorneys back again

 


The city of Havre secured its advocates for the courtroom, sticking with the same representation they've had for the past few years.

At Monday's City Council meeting, lawmakers approved the contracts with Bosch Kuhr Dugdale Martin & Kaze to represent the city in civil cases for $54,000 a year, and with City Prosecutor Tammi Barkus to keep doing her job in city court for $47,380 a year.

The civil contract does not include the city's lawsuits, such as the ongoing cases involving the county, but would rather pay for most of the city's internal legal work, such as codifying all of their city ordinances.

Tammi Barkus, as city prosecutor, advises the city on legal code and criminal issues and handles criminal misdemeanor cases that come through the Havre City Court.

Council members had several questions about the contracts and their renewal process.

After clarifying the amounts, council member Pam Hillery asked whether this was a process that had to be opened up, to accept other bids from competing attorneys before making a final decision.

Mayor Tim Solomon said that the city neither had to entertain bids nor had a real reason to do so.

"We haven't gone out for a bid in a couple years, " Solomon said. "As long as the price is the same, we're not too eager to throw them out. "

Lowell Swenson, city clerk, added that he didn't think that there would be much interest anyway.

"I don't remember when we last put out the civil bids, because when we did, no one wanted it, " Swenson said.

Council member Bob Kaftan asked whether the contract amounts were limits that would be worked toward, like in a legal retainer, or if it was a given salary, regardless of actual work done.

Swenson said it was a set contract amount that couldn't be exceeded.

"They're pretty active actually. For the price we're probably getting a bargain, " Swenson said.

Assuming the contracted attorneys work 40 hours per week, 50 weeks of the year, the civil contract comes to $27 an hour and the prosecutor would be paid around $23 an hour.

 

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