The Baldwin County Board of Commissioners has entered into another year-long contract for legal services from County Attorney J. David McRee. He has served in that capacity for several years.
Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the new contract with McRee during Tuesday night’s first commission meeting of the new year.
The county’s new contract with McRee runs from now until Dec. 31 of this year.
The county, which is referred to in the contract as the client, agrees to retain and employ McRee to represent them in any and all legal matters, including but not limited to the rendering of legal advice, and representation in any lawsuits by the county or against the county.
Commissioners have agreed to pay McRee a minimum amount of $4,675 in what was described as arrears on the first of every month, beginning Feb. 1, as per compensation for January of 2020. The county attorney will continue to be compensated on the first day of every month for the remainder of this year.
“Claims against the county, litigation, real estate acquisition, title examinations, and bond issues, if any, shall be compensated for at the customary rate or as agreed upon by the parties hereto,” according to the new county contract with McRee. “RIsk management is not included in this contract.”
The county attorney’s normal hourly rate for services not included in the monthly compensation will be $195 an hour unless agreed upon between both parties.
Under the new contract with the county, McRee is considered an independent contractor.
“He shall remain so at all times with only such obligations and rights as are consistent with that role,” according to the contract. “No employment benefits, including health insurance or retirement benefits will accrue.”
The contract also stipulates that there will be no settlement made by the county attorney or any matter referred to him by the county without the approval of the county board of commissioners or through its duly established risk management system.
“All serious offers of settlement shall be communicated to the board of commissioners directly or through the chairman of the board or the county manager,” according to the contract.
“Under terms of the new contract with McRee, he and the county both understand that in addition to the fees already established, the county will be responsible for all costs and expenses incurred for services requested by it outside the services set out in Exhibit A.”
The contract also allows the county attorney to reach out to other attorneys in an effort to assist him or to handle certain matters in the interest of the county.
“The attorney shall be responsible for all fees for services that are covered by the retainer herein and the county shall be responsible for all fees that are outside the retainer,” according to the contract. “All such work shall be done on an hourly basis unless the client specifically authorizes attorney to enter into a different arrangement.”