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."


Crime Stoppers: Armed Robbery At Highway 58 Family Dollar

Crime Stoppers and the Chattanooga Police Department are seeking information and the identity of the suspects of an armed robbery at the Family Dollar at 4749 Highway 58.  On April 7, at approximately 8:10 a.m., Chattanooga police responded to a robbery at the Family Dollar.  Two masked suspects entered the store and demanded the money from the registers. One of the ... (click for more)

Cleveland, Tn., Woman Missing Since 2011 Turns Up In Mississippi

A Cleveland, Tn., woman who had been missing since 2011 was found Tuesday in Mississippi. The Biloxi Sun Herald said 50-year-old Tammy Renee King, was walking along Mississippi 613 when a citizen stopped to help her. The Good Samaritan called the sheriff's office. Members of a local church plan to drive her back to Cleveland after she is checked out at a hospital. The newspaper ... (click for more)

Time For Tennessee To Act On Climate This Earth Day - And Response

Tennessee will join the rest of the southeast region, the nation and countries across the world in celebrating Earth Day on April 22. The entire month of April is a great time to reflect on the strides we have made to reduce pollution over the last 44 years, and assess current environmental conditions while evaluating our personal responsibility to a cleaner environment.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why Jim Coppinger Excels

Jim Coppinger, who as the mayor of Hamilton County has understandably had to grow some thick skin, wants no part of the repulsive billboards now seen around town that ask, “Do you have gonorrhea?”  His Tuesday morning telephone call revealed he is just as disgusted as the rest of us who see them showing a picture of a forlorn African-American male. “You need to know the Hamilton ... (click for more)

Owls' Fugate Fires Two-Hit Shutout In 2-0 Win Over Blue Raiders

Ooltewah was on the verge of a District 5-AAA double-header sweep against Cleveland. But the Blue Raiders’ hot-hitting catcher Hunter Oliver had other ideas. The Owls rode Logan Fugate’s brilliant two-hit shutout and two first-inning runs to a 2-0 win over Cleveland in the first game at A.C. Bud Ball Field on Wednesday. “Logan is an absolute warrior,” Owls coach Brian Hitchcox ... (click for more)

Chattanooga FC Launches Women’s team

Chattanooga is getting a new premier level women’s soccer team. Chattanooga FC announced the upcoming season for the Chattanooga FC Women’s team, set to kickoff at home on Sunday, May 18, at Finley Stadium.  Officials said, "The squad of 30 young women has been set, featuring a mix of local and international players. Youth, talent and experience define the team, with players ... (click for more)