On Tuesday, January 29, the Town of Mattapoisett held a special public meeting to interview candidates for the position of Town Counsel. The process, which began about six months ago, happens every few years as the town re-evaluates the quality and costs of legal services required throughout the year.
Town Administrator Mike Gagne said that the Board of Selectmen, which appoints Town Counsel, received several proposal requests from different law firms over the last few months.
“It gives the Board some perspective as to who is out there, what sort of work they’re doing,” Gagne said. “It also keeps the pencils sharp, as it were.”
Legal costs for a municipality can run high depending on many factors, such as large-scale projects like sewer repair, which require a bidding process and contract reviews.
“You see it add up really quickly. It tends to tilt that budget significantly,” he said.
According to Gagne, the town’s legal bills were about $45,000 for FY12, which is about average for the legal services sought.
The Board narrowed the selections down to three candidates, including current Town Counsel, the Boston law firm Kopelman and Paige. The other two prospective candidates are New Bedford-based lawyer Anthony Savastano, who acts as Town Counsel for Dartmouth, and Matthew Thomas, a tax title lawyer also from New Bedford.
By Eric Tripoli