City of Pensacola legal fees continue to climb, up 35-percent in two years

According to the quarterly, unaudited financial reports that CFO Dick Barker will present to the Pensacola City Council, the Hayward administration’s legal fees are up 24.5 percent over the first six months of the 2016-17 fiscal year when compared with the same period last year – 3/31/17: $651,629 vs 3/31/16: $523,234.  The legal expense are up nearly $167K ( 35.02 percent) over two years ago when Mayor Ashton Hayward began reporting his legal expenses to the city council. The public has no schedules of the city’s legal expenses for the first six months of 2011-2014.

3/31/15 3/31/16 3/31/17
Allen Norton & Blue  $24,649.82  $26,019.00  $46,377.39
Beggs & Lane  $74,557.55  $170,318.11  $157,919.30
Bryant Miller Olive  $7,139.55  $21,479.29  $37,800.00
GrayRobinson  $13,190.05  $73,917.95  $36,140.67
Wilson Harrell  $108,513.24  $39,179.24  $218,041.35
Other  $254,579.16  $192,321.05  $155,350.53
Total  $482,629.37  $523,234.64  $651,629.24 YTD
% increase 8.41% 24.54% 35.02%

1 thought on “City of Pensacola legal fees continue to climb, up 35-percent in two years

  1. Back in 2008, Rusty Wells proposed to gut the City Attorney’s Office as a way to be made City Attorney. Those of here back then will remember that the City Council majority became befuddled unable to rank ten resumes. The most highly qualified candidate was a women not from around here. Wells appeared to be the least qualified candidate. Mike DeSorbo then made a motion at 10:30 at night with only two citizens present in the audience (Diane Mack, Diana Hall) to abort the City Attorney selection process and give the job to Wells who was the only candidate in City Hall at the time. Ron Townsend seconded the motion. Wells got the job and that marks the start of the city’s legal woes. The current City Council could but seems unable or unwilling to deal with the issue of outside legal costs. It should adopt an ordinance requiring its approval for the hiring of outside legal counsel. One benefit of that change would be to force this and all future Mayor’s to ensure that the Office of City Attorney was property staffed with the types of attorneys having the right skills. Only by exception should the city turn to outside lawyers such as if it has to deal with an arcane issue. The fact that the city hired a law firm in Atlanta to defend it in the Panhandling Ordinance lawsuit is shameful.

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