The meeting was called by newly elected mayor, Anna Lopez Machacek, who brought in Barney Knight of Knight & Partners of Austin to make a presentation to council on services the law firm can provide the city. Knight said his law firm could act as either city attorney or assistant city attorney for Goliad.
“I understand there is a little division in this city right now,” Knight said. “I have a couple of cities where there was serious division when I got there.”
Knight said his firm’s rates would be $175 to $225 per hour, which would include travel time. He said his attorneys provide counsel for city council meetings from their Austin offices via teleconference or Skype video.
“You are lucky you have a local attorney whose office is next door and is willing to do it,” Knight said. “But it’s still not necessary. You have to pay for it. I bet he’ll be here every time you ask for him to be here. I’m not trying to take his business. ... Every city is different.”
Councilman Buddy Zavesky voiced concern about not having a city attorney on site.
“I can’t remember having a meeting here when we didn’t have a lawyer here just in case,” Zavesky said.
Zavesky made the motion to take no action on hiring the law firm and the motion was seconded by Garcia.
Discussion and possible action to approve the services of Knight & Partners is on the agenda again for Tuesday night's meeting.
In another business item, Machacek questioned the $500 per day afforded Taylor for attending training sessions and conferences. The rate was negotiated with city council shortly after Taylor was hired in January.
“We did it in closed session when my job duties were clarified at that time,” Taylor said. “I came up with a number and made an offer to council that was accepted.”
Machacek said surrounding counties and cities do not compensate their attorneys for training costs.
“I called a few counties around us and most of them do not pay for any training,” Machacek said.
“I don’t know what counties you called, but the cities around here pay most of their people for it,” Zavesky said.
“Most of the cities do not pay a compensation at all,” Machacek said. “Very few pay for any kind of training. It’s just part of an attorney’s duties.”
Zavesky made the motion to table the item and it was seconded by councilman Lionel Garcia.
“How many more of these trainings do you have to go to?” councilwoman Liz Holsey asked Taylor.
“That’s really not something that has been determined,” Taylor said. “There is one coming up this month.”
Council unanimously voted to table the item.
Council heard an update from Taylor on action the city is taking concerning a Municipal Development District loan to Angels In Goliad RV Park.
City Administrator Larry Zermeno provided council information on the daily functions of the city for the benefit of the new mayor and council members.