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Hall narrows attorney choices down to 2 firms
Board members will interview final firms today
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Hall County officials have narrowed down the county attorney slot to two choices, and now all five commissioners will interview the finalists.

During Monday’s work session, Hall County Commissioner Scott Gibbs requested the entire board become involved with the final process.

“The selection process worked well, but at this point it needs to be the entire commission doing this,” he said.

Gibbs and Commissioner Billy Powell served on a selection committee that reviewed seven bids and scored them based on their qualifications. Gibbs and Powell invited the other commissioners to attend interviews being held today with the two firms.

“I’m pleased with the final two, who are local firms that will do a good job for the county,” Powell said. “The committee was unanimous in its rankings, and now it’s our job to look at the total package of who can handle the county’s workload at the right price.”

The purchasing department will not release additional information about the firms until the committee presents its recommendation to the Hall County Board of Commissioners. The board agreed Monday to vote on the recommendation at its April 28 meeting.

“I agree with Commissioner Gibbs that since the position is hired by the whole commission, the whole commission should have the opportunity to interview the two firms,” Commissioner Craig Lutz said after the meeting. “There aren’t many positions that we directly hire, and for positions such as the county administrator or county attorney that we work with closely, we really need to be comfortable working with them.”

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

“I would have liked to see another firm on the short list. I expected to see more firms apply that didn’t,” Lutz said. “But I’m ready to move forward. Now we’re committed to selecting a local firm with qualifications and experience.”

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