Minden selects Carson firm for town attorney
May 3, 2013
Minden Town Board members hired a Carson City firm last week as town counsel, replacing George Keele who retired in January after serving the board for 32 years.
The board voted 4-1 to award a contract to Allison MacKenzie Pavlakis Wright & Fagan.
Attorney Ryan Russell will primarily handle the town’s business.
The firm was selected from three applicants including Minden attorneys Michael S. Rowe and Chuck Zumpft.
The applicants were asked to detail their experience in representing municipalities and water law, if they anticipated conflicts of interest, backup attorneys, and how they would advise the board if they had limited expertise in an issue.
The candidates were interviewed separately in 30-minute sessions.
Russell detailed the law firm’s extensive experience and what an advantage that would be for the town.
He said attorney Joel Locke would be his backup.
“There will never be a time he can’t step in,” Russell said. “We have eight other attorneys in the office.”
Russell said he would never give the board a “speculative answer or a guess.”
Board member John Stephans said each candidate would be a good choice for the town.
He said he supported Allison MacKenzie because they appeared to have the least potential for conflict of interest, and had worked with the town on water matters and other issues since Keele’s retirement.
The board was split 2-2 between Zumpft and Allison MacKenzie until Chairman Charlie Condron put his support with the Carson City firm.
Condron said it was a tough decision, but he was persuaded by Allison MacKenzie’s experience with water issues.
“We have huge water issues,” Condron said.
The board voted 4-1 with member Steve Thaler dissenting. Board member Matt Bernard had supported Zumpft, but changed his vote to Allison MacKenzie to join the majority support.
Thaler said all the candidates were excellent, but he wanted to hire a local firm.
Following the selection, the board directed Town Manager Jenifer Davidson and deputy district attorney Zach Wadlé to negotiate a contract with Russell for consideration at a future board meeting.