New city at­tor­ney con­tracted

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VIC­TO­RIA WINGATE vwingate@ches­

CAM­BRIDGE — Cam­bridge City Coun­cil an­nounced at the Mon­day, April 24, meet­ing that Ma­cLeod Law Group has been se­lected to pro­vide le­gal ser­vices to the city.

This comes af­ter the coun­cil voted in Jan­uary to dis­miss long-time city at­tor­ney Rob Col­li­son.

The dismissal was con­sid­ered a per­son­nel mat­ter, and was there­fore dis­cussed and voted on by City Coun­cil in closed ses­sion only, and little information was dis­closed pub­licly. A call to City Man­ager San­dra Tripp-Jones’ of­fice to re­quest fur­ther information was not re­turned.

Ap­proved by a 6-0 vote, the city will en­ter into a four-month con­tract with the Ch­ester town­based law firm, ac­cord­ing to

the coun­cil’s closed ses­sion re­port read by Tripp-Jones. Mayor Vic­to­ria Jack­son-Stan­ley was al­lowed to vote with the coun­cil, as the city’s char­ter pro­vides.

For rou­tine le­gal ser­vices, the city will pay Ma­cLeod Law Group $8,333 per month, for a four-month to­tal of $33,332.

“Dur­ing that time, the firm and the city will track ac­tiv­ity and costs and then con­sider a long-term re­tainer for ei­ther that rate or an ad­justed rate, based on our ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing that four months,” Trip­pJones said.

Doc­u­ments re­gard­ing a tax-rate in­crease to main­tain con­stant yield show that, with this change in at­tor­ney, the in­crease of cost to the city for le­gal ser­vices will be $40,000 in FY18.

The FY17 bud­get in­cluded $114,100 for the city at­tor­ney cat­e­gory. That num­ber would rise to $153,500 un­der the cur­rently pro­posed FY18 bud­get.

For­mer Ward 3 Com­mis­sioner Frank Cooke crit­i­cized the coun­cil’s han­dling of the sit­u­a­tion in a let­ter to the edi­tor pub­lished in The Star Demo­crat.

Cooke stated in his let­ter that the vote was 2-1 to end the city’s con­tract with Col­li­son. Com­mis­sion­ers Steve Ride­out and Dave Can­non re­cused them­selves from vot­ing, com­mis­sion­ers Don­ald Syd­nor and La-Shon Fos­ter voted to end the con­tract, and Com­mis­sioner Robert Han­son voted to con­tinue it, Cooke said.

Col­li­son served as city at­tor­ney for 21 years. His last City Coun­cil meet­ing was Mon­day, April 10.

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