For the first time in 23 years, a new town attorney will soon sit on the end of the dais.
At its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 4, at Town Hall, the Longboat Key Town Commission agreed to move forward with a bid for a new town attorney.
Town Manager Dave Bullock was given direction to place a bid for the services of the attorney. The bid will remain for 30 days before the town schedules one or two commission work sessions to review the firms that apply.
In total, it could take the commission four to six weeks to go through the process and select a new attorney.
“It all depends how many proposals we get,” Bullock said. “If we get 10 proposals, you may only want to review the top three to five.”
A debate centered on how the commission should choose its next attorney.
Bullock said the commission, which has the ultimate say for the charter official position, could decide on its own or create an advisory committee of citizens and staff that could whittle the list.
Commissioner Jack Duncan supported the commission to go it alone.
“This is a position the commission hires and we are the commission,” Duncan said. “We are certainly capable of looking at applications and making the assessments from beginning to end.”
Commissioner Pat Zunz, however, suggested forming a committee that could include Bullock, a retired Longboat Key attorney and retired Longboat Key CEOs.
Although that group didn’t receive support, the commission did agree to use Bullock and Planning, Zoning and Building Director Robin Meyer to provide input for a new attorney selection.
“In the end, though, the commission is the customer and the commission has the need,” said Commissioner Terry Gans. “The commission should be the selection process in all facets of this.”
Town Attorney David Persson will stay on in his capacity as town attorney no later than June 30, to give Bullock and the commission time to interview replacement candidates.
Persson accepted the Venice city attorney position last month.
Town Attorney Duties
The town of Longboat Key’s charter says the town attorney shall:
• Serve as legal adviser to the town, the Town Commission and all of the governmental and proprietary functions of the town and its departments, divisions, officers, boards and committees.
• Prepare and review all proposed ordinances and resolutions of the town.
• Prosecute and defend all legal actions wherein the town is a party in interest.
• Perform such other legal services the Town Commission or town manager requests.