Guin asks to remain as city attorney
by Jennifer Cohron
Jul 25, 2013 | 1969 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CORDOVA — Ken Guin made his case for continuing as city attorney to the Cordova City Council on Tuesday.

At the July 9 meeting, Mayor Drew Gilbert recommended replacing Guin and prosecutor Sam Sullivan with Benjamin Goldman of Hand Arendall LLC in Birmingham.

Guin, who has represented Cordova for 18 years, said he learned the council was considering making a change after reading the newspaper account of the meeting.

“When I read that, I was concerned that there was a problem. The mayor assures me there is not, that y’all are just simply exploring options,” Guin said.

Guin said he asked for the opportunity to speak to council members, most of whom took office for the first time in November, so they could get to know him better.

Guin cited his institutional memory as an advantage to the city.

“If we start talking about mining, for instance, I can tell you all the problems we’ve had, the court cases. Those are things I just know off the top of my head from a long time of representing the city,” Guin said.

He emphasized the point later in the presentation with a reference to the current multi-million dollar sewer project funded largely through the United States Department of Agriculture.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management filed suit against the city in November 2005 after several illegal discharges were emitted from the wastewater treatment plant.

Guin said the city incurred few legal fees over the eight years that he represented them on that case.

“Our philosophy was to drag this thing out so we could get the money to put it in place. That’s what we did. It didn’t have to be litigated. You didn’t get charged a penalty for over eight years of work. You came out great on this,” Guin said.

Guin said the 16 years that he served in the Alabama House of Representatives also benefits the city because his various committee assignment provided him with a thorough knowledge of the state code.

“Most of these ordinances and things that you deal with, I had some direct hand in writing. So when we talk about implementing those things, there’s not a lot of it that I have to research. I know it because I dealt with it in its inception. That just saves you money,” Guin said.

Guin added that he views his work with municipalities as community service and as a result charges them approximately half of his normal rate.

Guin said his fee for Cordova of $125 per hour has remained steady over the years and does not reflect some services for which he does not charge, adding that he did not bill the city for working on the police department’s policies and procedures manual on his recent vacation.

Guin said Gilbert had expressed a concern about the length of time it takes for him to review the city’s paperwork.

Guin explained that he had an agreement with previous mayors to work at his own pace so the city would receive several small legal bills over the course of several months instead of one large bill.

“I can do it as fast as you want. If there’s a priority, let me know,” Guin said.

Guin also addressed Gilbert’s desire for a city attorney who would also serve as prosecutor.

Guin said he turned down previous offers in other cities because his schedule as a legislator would not allow him to effectively serve as prosecutor. However, he said he would be willing to do so now.

No motion related to the position of city attorney was made at Tuesday’s meeting.