East Ridge City Council Names Hal North As Interim City Attorney

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The East Ridge City Council, at a special called meeting on Saturday afternoon, named Hal North as interim city attorney on a three-month trial basis.

He will be paid a flat $7,500 fee with no other charges.

Councilman Marc Gravitt said attorney North had called him about the open position.  He said "for full disclosure" he had done some business with attorney North including appraisals.

Both he and Vice Mayor Jim Bethune highly praised attorney North, saying he has excellent credentials.

Mayor Brent Lambert and Councilmen Larry Sewell both said they knew nothing of attorney North.

Mayor Lambert said he was taken aback because he said Vice Mayor Bethune had told him Friday he wanted to name former East Ridge City Attorney Cris Helton to the post. 

Council members Gravitt, Bethune and Manning voted in favor. Councilman Sewell paused for a time and then said yes. Mayor Lambert abstained.

The council had voted 3-2 on Thursday night to fire John Anderson as city attorney. He had held the post since 2008.

Attorney Helton departed and attorney Anderson arrived during the tenure of Mayor Mike Steele. 

Vice Mayor Bethune said he earlier asked attorney Anderson to serve in the part-time position for a flat $7,500 per month, but he declined.  Attorney Anderson and his law firm charged the city as much as $158,000 per year.

Attorney North will represent East Ridge in Criminal Court on Monday on a motion to delay a trial involving the Superior Creek Lodge. Councilman Gravitt said a trial is set on Wednesday and the lawyer for the lodge wanted it passed.

Vice Mayor Bethune said he interviewed attorney North for about 45 minutes after his name was recommended to him by Councilman Gravitt.

He said he has been president of the Chattanooga Bar Association, Big Brothers and Big Sisters Association, the Rotary Club and the Crime Stoppers. He is a deacon at First Presbyterian Church.

The member of the firm of Chambliss, Bahner and Stophel won the 2011 President's Award from the president of the Tennessee Bar Association.  

Councilman Gravitt said attorney North is familiar with municipal law since he is the special counsel for the city of Chattanooga.

"We would be fortunate to have him," he said.

He said attorney North is not asking for any contract and, after three months, the council can decide if it wants to keep him.   

Councilman Sewell said he would like to look into the idea of having a full-time city attorney. But Mayor Lambert said that would be expensive since the attorney would likely require a staff "unless he answers the phone for himself."


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ADAMS, MARDARREIUS FOOQUON  707 RICHARDSON ST ROSSVILLE, 30741  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County THEFT OF PROPERTY (OVER $1000) --- ATKINS, CHRISTIAN MICHAEL  308 NYE DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 59 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

Federal Government Sues Life Care's Forrest Preston, Saying He Received Millions In Medicare Funds He Was Not Entitled To

Federal attorneys have sued Forrest Preston, founder and chairman of Cleveland, Tn.-based Life Care Centers of America, claiming that he was "unjustly enriched" by receiving Medicare funds he was not entitled to receive. The civil suit in Chattanooga Federal Court asks for the return of "millions of dollars." The government earlier sued Life Care on similar charges based on ... (click for more)

Thankful For The Vital Role Teachers Played In My Life

Re: Roy Exum: Teachers Day Tomorrow Roy, I am especially appreciative of your poignant column written in tribute to teachers.  It made me tear up, as I have encountered both as a student and a career educator-- teachers like the second-grade teacher who said, "I wish you were my little girl" and teachers like Mrs. Poindexter.   My teachers have played such a vital ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Bad Ideas Never Work

When the Chattanooga City Council gave Kevin Muhammad, who is purportedly the “leader” of the Nation of Islam’s “Chattanooga chapter” or whatever it is, “the right” to speak for 20 anguished minutes on Monday night, everybody who heard about it could have told our city leaders it was “stinkin’ thinkin’.” My goodness, did you think he was going to read a sweet passage from the ... (click for more)

Mustangs Clip Raiders, 4-3, On Chambers' Clutch RBI Hit In 10th

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Winning two regular season games against Cleveland was no picnic for the Walker Valley Mustangs. Capturing a win-or-go-home District 5-3A tournament showdown with the Blue Raiders was even tougher to nail down for coach Joe Shamblin’s squad. Bunts by Jacob McCall and Hunter Shamblin set the stage for Jacob Chambers’ walk-off RBI single in the 10 th ... (click for more)

East Ridge And CFCA Reach New Contract

The city of East Ridge and the Chattanooga Futbol Club Academy (CFCA) have agreed to a new five-year soccer field-use agreement for five fields at Camp Jordan Park. The agreement allows CFCA to practice at Camp Jordan Park and play games there on fields 1-5. The East Ridge Futbol Club (ERFC) plays recreation soccer on fields 6-8 and often works with CFCA to use field 5 on Saturday ... (click for more)