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."


2 Hit While Walking On Birmingham Highway; James Ankrom, 63, Dies At The Hospital

Two pedestrians were struck by a single vehicle on Highway 11 (Birmingham Highway) in Lookout Valley on Tuesday night. One of those who was struck, 63-year-old James David Ankrom, died after being taken to a local hospital. Police said the other person who was hit was responsive. She was identified as Maria Martinez, 52. The incident happened shortly after 7 p.m. at ... (click for more)

Crime Stoppers: Robbery At Hixson Pike Tiger Mart

Crime Stoppers and the Chattanooga Police Department are seeking information on a robbery from a business that occurred at the Tiger Mart at 3504 Hixson Pike on July 13, 2014.   A black male entered the business with a towel covering his face and a bag covering his right hand, implying he had a weapon, and demanded money from the clerk. The clerk complied and the suspect ... (click for more)

Women Don't Ask For Rape, They Ask For Justice

The stereotypical irrationality that women typically lie about rape has brought an enormous amount of social stigma to this population. Many like to think that rape is not a huge issue in the United States, and that the media blows it out of proportion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reported that approximately 17.7 million females in America have been raped, with 108,612 ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Father Kelly’s ‘Hallelujah’

Last April, in the special way that only some older men are lucky enough to possess, the childish imp came out in Father Ray Kelly. A parish priest in Oldcastle, Ireland, he was conducting wedding vows for a handsome couple when the 62-year-old decided to surprise them with a totally-unscripted rendition of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, “Hallelujah.” When he did, there soon ... (click for more)

Vols Stop 5-Game Skid With Upset Of LSU

BATON ROUGE, La. – Senior Josh Richardson  scored 20 points and junior  Armani Moore  finished with 19 to lead the Vols to a 78-63 victory over LSU on Wednesday at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. After being tied at halftime, the Vols (15-14, 7-10 SEC) shot 69.2 percent from the floor and outscored LSU 45-30 in the second half on their way to snapping ... (click for more)

Chattanooga To Host National Amateur Soccer Championships

US Soccer and US Adult Soccer announced this week that Chattanooga's Finley Stadium will host the 2015 National Amateur Championships on May 29-30. There will be one team each from the four top amateur leagues; the National Premier Soccer League, the United Soccer League's Premier Development League and the US Amateur Soccer Association's Open and Amateur Champions.  ... (click for more)