Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 12/07/2016  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon a letter of engagement to continue specialty legal contract services related to covenant enforcement, real estate, special district and legislative matters;
FISCAL IMPACT:
BACKGROUND:
In 2015, the Board of Directors determined to retain the services of an experienced “in-house” legal counsel, similar to the cities of Conroe and Sugar Land, along with a paralegal/administrative assistant position.  The resulting Township General Counsel attends all Township Board meetings, works with staff in agenda preparation, on various community issues and agreements, and responds to Board questions as needed. The Township General Counsel is responsible for working with all Township departments and managing all contract legal work. 

The Township further determined to retain its existing relationship with its then current legal service providers, as the Township's transition to in-house General Counsel was not intended to replace all contract legal services. Rather, the intent was to move the more routine transactional, day-to-day legal needs/staff services in-house but to continue to contract for outside legal services when dealing with specialty services such as litigation, covenant enforcement, or governance planning and issues regarding special purpose district authority or legislation and bond issuances as well as employment matters.  

The budget line item for contract legal services for covenant enforcement remained in the Covenant Administration Department budget; all other funds for contract legal services were transferred to the Legal Services Department. The budget item for covenant enforcement is most closely analogous to municipal prosecution of zoning and nuisance violations, for which many cities outsource their legal services.

The Board’s Agreements with The Strong Firm, P.C. (for covenant enforcement and real estate matters) and Schwartz, Page and Harding, L.L.P. have lapsed and this item authorizes their continuation for such legal services as has been provided previously.
 
Since the Township Attorney is Board-Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, it has since proved more cost effective to not renew the contract for specialty employment law services, such services are generally within her practice area of expertise.
RECOMMENDATION:
Authorize the President/General Manager to execute letters of engagement with the Strong Firm, P.C. and Schwartz, Page and Harding, L.L.P. firms, in essentially the same form as those previously entered into by the Township.
Attachments
2014 Letter of Agreement
The Strong Firm 2013 Engagement Letter


    

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