As a citizen of East Ridge, I try to stay informed on what is happening in our city and attend as many of the council meetings as possible. Since mid-December, when Attorney Hal North was hired as the interim city attorney, I have attended two called meetings, two agenda workshops and two regular council meetings. My confidence in the new city attorney has grown with each meeting.
I feel that the choice to appoint Attorney Hal North as the interim city attorney was one of the wisest choices that our governing body has made in some time. In the meetings that Mr. North has presided as the legal voice of the city he has certainly impressed me. He takes his seat with council as their legal backup. He is not a voice of what policy or decision should or should not be made, but to advise council to make sure the direction they go in is legal, upholding our city charter, codes and policies.
Thursday night at the meeting, his knowledge and the advice that he gave to our elected officials, I think was solid advice for the best of the city.
I ask you to please read the article on Chattanoogan.com: East Ridge Council Balks At Paying Ex-Attorney For Copying 41 Boxes Of Legal Records; Gobble Says He May Hire Anderson. These are some excerpts from that article referencing comments from East Ridge Interim City Attorney North:
“He said it is normal for attorneys to make copies prior to handing over a case to another lawyer. He said, "It is not normal to charge for the copies."
Attorney North suggested that the city seek arbitration arranged by the Chattanooga Bar Association on the copying charge. He said attorney Anderson could opt to go along with the arbitration or sue the city for the amount.
Attorney North said the city of East Ridge is embroiled in 6-8 lawsuits and some of them indeed have been going on for years. He said, "The city does not need to be juggling that many balls," and he said he has been taking steps to try to settle some or all of the pending cases”
As a citizen, I welcome Attorney North to East Ridge and look forward to watching him handle the legal questions and issues that our city faces. I feel that his advice and direction will be as the laws require and legal options will be given to the elected officials to help them make responsible decisions.