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7 firms apply for Hall County attorney duties

Ex-county attorney's firm among applicants

POSTED: March 9, 2011 11:58 p.m.

Seven Northeast Georgia law firms have submitted proposals to serve as Hall County government's new legal representation.

Among those that applied were Stewart, Melvin & Frost, a Gainesville firm whose associate Bill Blalock held the position until he was fired Jan. 6.

The Hall County Purchasing Department at 3 p.m. Tuesday read aloud the names of the firms who submitted bids for the position.

The firm that represents the county's Board of Tax Assessors, Fox, Chandler, Homans, Hicks & McKinnon, also applied.

The others are Coleman & Chambers, Leonard Parks Jr. and Buckley King, all of Gainesville; the Samuels Firm of Buford; and Mahaffey, Pickens, Tucker of Lawrenceville.

County officials are in the process of creating a committee that will review the bids and score them based on their qualifications.

"It is not official yet, but the recommendation for the committee was going to be two commissioners, the county administrator, the finance director, public works director, planning and zoning director and myself," Purchasing Manager Tim Sims said. "We will set up meetings to discuss them and make a short list."

After review, the committee likely will put its top three firms on a short list for the position.

"We will call those firms in for an interview and ask for their price proposals," Sims said. "They are not listing pricing in the bid; they are just listing qualifications and experience."

The purchasing department will not release any other information about any of the firms until the committee presents its recommendation to the Hall County Board of Commissioners. Sims said depending on how long it takes for the committee to review the bids, the board likely will vote on the recommendation at its April 28 meeting.

On Jan. 6, the board voted not to renew Blalock's contract, with some commissioners claiming his firm had a conflict of interest. At one time, attorney Tread Syfan was in business with Commissioner Billy Powell and Chairman Tom Oliver.

At the same Jan. 6 meeting, the commission appointed Atlanta firm Holland & Knight to handle the county's legal needs in the interim. O.V. Brantley, former Fulton County attorney, has been serving as Hall County's interim county attorney.



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