The Ely Times

James Beecher, McKinzie Petersen and Bryan Pyle were all on the Ely City Council agenda for proposed contract attorney services. 

Beecher and Petersen’s contracts for criminal attorney service were for a $2,500 flat monthly rate.   Pyle who would be providing civil attorney service, was for a $4,170 flat monthly fee.

The contracts for all three attorneys comes to a total of $110,040. Former city attorneys salary with benefits was $158,706.42. Creating a significant cost savings of $48,666.42.

Brian Pyle was on a pre-planned trip so while he wasn’t able to attend, he did call in and provide answers via conference call.

Although all three attorneys currently work for the White Pine District Attorneys office.  Robertson noted he spoke with District Court Judges Gary Fairman and Steven Dobrescu who commented on how beneficial this would be for the city and the county. The prosecution parameters would be consistent across the board. 

Beecher discussed how he and Petersen had already spoke with Judge Mike Coster to determine the caseload and schedule.

“Judge has been really flexible.” Beecher said. “We both handle criminal cases in the county, and this will just add the city criminal cases. We have one Justice Court and we can’t run two justice court cases at once, so there is always going to be one of us available to go to the municipal court and prosecute cases there.”  

A supplement to the proposals was handed out, and it outlined the 30-day notice of termination in the event the city no longer entertained the services of the attorney.

Councilman Kurt Carson asked how many hours the attorneys would be working.

Beecher said, “It’s difficult to predict with criminal cases because if you have a criminal case, it could be a 5 minute case, or a DUI can be more complex, those could take 20 or more hours to prepare for. Overall week to week, I would anticipate we would be spending, no more than 30 hours between the two of us per week, and that’s on the high end. “

Robertson said, “In light of this being something different from what we have been doing, would you object to a trial period of six months?” 

Beecher said, “Here is my philosophy on lawyers, you should always be allowed to fire your attorney, as you will see in our contract, it outlines how a contract can be terminated at any time.” 

Councilman Ernie Flangas asked how the hours would work since all three attorneys currently work full time? 

Beecher noted they work all days of the week, and all times of the day. As long as we are doing all our work we are assigned, anything we do outside the D.A.’s office is on our own time, and the D.A. is fine with it. “

Carson said, “I think it’s a great idea, and you  know the city and county are finally getting along, and everybody’s playing nice together, it’s refreshing.” 

 All three contracts were approved unanimously. 

In other action, the council approved grant funding from Maddie’s Pet Project to be utilized for parvo vaccinations on every dog and cat up to two years of age that enter the Ely Animal Shelter.  

The grant fund outlined this as an industry standard for shelters to vaccinate all animals coming in. Councilman Sam Hanson asked if the city would be on the hook for this, and Animal Control officer Andrew Hayes answered, “no.” 

An agenda item to approve a Will Serve application for Linda Derbidge of Derbidge Family Trust on behalf of the Learning Bridge Charter School brought several questions from Mayor Nathan Robertson.  

Robertson said, “This goes back to where we had a similar situation, where we had a property owner applying for a variance, and they didn’t own the property, and so I’m a little confused on this process.”

Derbidge said, “Right now the property belongs to Dale and Linda Derbidge, the Derbidge Family Trust, we cannot deed it to the Learning Bridge school until the parcel map is approved, at that time the property will be deeded to the Learning Bridge, but in order for this project to work before winter comes in we needed to get water going, where the property is.”  

The item was approved unanimously