City Attorney Usher L. (“Larry”) Brown announced July 13 that he has left the firm of Brown, Garganese, Weiss and D’Agresta to join the firm of Greenspoon Marder, leaving the post of City Attorney in limbo.
In response to this announcement, City Manager Randy Knight advised the Commissioners that they had three options. They could stay with Larry Brown and his new firm; they could retain the former firm; or they could issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit bids for the City Attorney position and choose from a larger group of competing firms, which would probably include both the Brown, Garganese firm and the Greenspoon Marder firm.
Commission Votes for RFP
In a move that was foreshadowed in the July 6 “coffee talk” between Mayor Leary and Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel, who agreed that the City should issue an RFP for the City Attorney post every five years or so, the Commission voted to issue an RFP to solicit bids from competing law firms.
Brown Will Serve During RFP Process
At the same time, with a nod to his experience, expertise and service to Winter Park, the Commissioners voted to retain Larry Brown as City Attorney during the RFP process, which is expected to last through most of the remainder of 2015. Remaining shareholders of the Brown, Garganese firm, all of whom were present, agreed to “stand down.”
Selection Committee Named
On July 27, the Commission and City staff agreed upon the mechanics of the RFP process. A committee of five was named to review submissions. They are Commissioner Tom McMacken, Fire Chief Jim White, City Manager Randy Knight, Planning Director Dori Stone, and Public Works Director Troy Attaway. After reviewing law firm submissions, the committee will present the top five or six finalists to the Commission. Finalists will make individual oral presentations to the Commission. Oral presentations will not be public.
Once the Commission has heard the oral presentations, they will meet publicly to deliberate and make the final decision on who will be the next City Attorney.
Brown Got Better Deal From Sun Rail
Larry Brown has been a familiar face around City Hall since October 2009. Among his most significant contributions was renegotiation of the City’s agreement with Sun Rail. Originally, the agreement had no dollar limit on the annual amount the City would be liable to pay if the State failed to find a funding source at the end of the FDOT funding period. Thanks to the efforts of previous Commissioners, who relied on Brown’s expertise and negotiating skills, the agreement now has a “not-to-exceed” limit on the amount the City would pay and includes a covenant that ad valorem tax funds (property taxes) will never be used to pay for the City’s participation in Sun Rail.
About his move from one firm to another, Brown said, “It is a hard decision to leave a business you started . . . but I am certain I made the best business decision.”
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