The Muskegon County County Board of Commissioners passed the contract for Theodore N. Williams, Jr. and Williams Hughes, PLLC unanimously on Tuesday, but not without some debate.
District 3 County Commissioner Susie Hughes raised a question for County Administrator Bonnie Hammersley, asking if any other law firms or lawyers had bid on the position of Corporate Counsel. Hammersley replied that the position was not bid out because she wasn’t advised to by the County Board of Commissioners.
Bob Scolnik, county commissioner for District 4, pointed out that if he wanted to hire an attorney for himself, he wouldn’t want the cheapest one.
He also noted that as a member of the minority Republican party on the board, he likes the fact that Williams does not bring his personal politics into the work field.
“It’s important to be non-partisan,” Scolnik said. I’ve been a commissioner for years and still don’t know what he thinks about this, which is a good thing, Scolnik said.
While Hughes questioned the process of re-hiring Williams, she stated she was not questioning his ability to perform his job as Corporate Counsel.
“We are spending the taxpayers money,” Hughes said. “We should look at the price.”
Hughes brought up another question for the administrator regarding the multitude of local municipalities Williams, and Williams/Hughes represent.
She was concerned that in the case that the county is involved in a legal dispute with another municipality which is represented by Williams, a conflict of interest would arise, and wanted to know what the plan would be then.
Williams and Hammersley stated that in that case, the Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office would represent the county while the other municipality would be represented by another lawyer or firm.
After much discussion, the contract for Williams and Williams/Hughes was extended until Dec. 31, 2013.