George Dozier, who is retiring at the end of the year, told a three-member Legal Counsel Selection Committee that it will be important for the Development Authority’s new attorney to avoid representing another authority that is competing for the same economic development projects.
“One of the things you’ve got to decide is whether you want to send it to somebody who has a conflict,” Dozier said.
The three committee members — committee Chairman Clark Hungerford, Thea Powell and Richard Moore — agreed to basic principles of a possible request for proposals that they will take before the full board at its Sept. 18 meeting, though Hungerford said the recommendations would be finalized in an email. If approved, the request would be sent to firms they feel are qualified, with hopes of one agreeing to represent the Development Authority by the time Dozier retires.
Among the requirements is that the attorney either be a Cobb County resident or have a firm that’s based here.
“One of the things a local counsel does is they have a rapport and an ability to work with the local people,” Dozier said. “For example, we deal with the judges, we deal with the clerk of Superior Court, we deal with the Cobb County Finance Department, we deal with the Cobb County Commissioners, we deal with the Cobb County Tax Assessors Office.”
Moore suggested they take the requirement one step further and make sure that the lawyer they hire practices in Cobb.
“They could practice in Atlanta and live in Vinings,” Moore said. “They wouldn’t know the contacts of somebody who practices in Cobb.”
But committee members decided that to forbid anyone whose practice is outside the county could make it difficult to find anyone qualified.
The committee also plans to propose that the lawyer be paid on a fee-based system, as opposed to keeping an attorney on retainer. Hungerford said that means they are paid on a sliding scale, with the lawyer being paid a percentage of the bond resolution awarded to a company. The lawyer would receive a larger percentage of the bond on smaller projects.