Pella Chronicle

November 22, 2012

Agreement for legal services raises questions


The Chronicle

Pella — Marion County does not have a formal contract with the law firm Allers and Cooney to provide legal advice regarding human resources issues, but an engagement letter between the County and the firm exists. County Attorney Ed Bull is concerned that too many County employees and officials have called the firm, which could create a conflict of interest if the firm has advised both sides of a potential legal disagreement.

Bull said he needs to know what people are hearing from the outside counsel. Sheriff Ron Goemaat told the supervisors that he believed Lisa Shives has already been appointed as the County's human resources expert, and point person for making such calls.

“That's the way we've functioned,” County Engineer Roger Schletzbaum agreed, as did Board Chairman Sam Nichols.

Bull said he is not trying to change the way things are done, but he would prefer that such contact is made through him. He agreed that having a human resources professional makes sense.

Supervisor Craig Agan believes that if the law firm is being retained by the Marion County Board of Supervisors, the firm should be contacted by the supervisors.

“I think we should review the matter further,” Agan said.