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Local law firm looks to oust town’s attorneys

Though Reno-based Armstrong Teasdale has provided legal counsel for the Town of Pahrump for many years, one local law firm is looking into whether town officials want new, fresh representation.

During a recent town board meeting, officials from Stovall and Associates made a presentation offering their legal services for the town.

Stovall representative Mike Iglinski told the board he was merely gauging interest from the town regarding Stovall’s services.

“There are times that you might need counsel for certain services and there are times you may need counsel for other situations. We currently have a general practice model and have held that for the last seven years now. We have very good relationships with many different organizations here in the Town of Pahrump,” he said.

At present, Stovall and Associates provides general counsel services for the Chamber of Commerce as well as a monthly pro-bono legal clinic for seniors at the Pahrump Senior Center.

Iglinski also noted the firm’s association with other local entities and keen knowledge of town-related issues.

“We have daily contact with other Pahrump local attorneys and the Nye County District Attorney’s Office and a very good working relationship and furthermore, we have the diversity in our practice to handle every town issue that would come along, be it labor negotiations, municipality law and general civil litigation. The years and experience we have behind our firm and the reach that we have right now only speaks to the fact that we’ve done so well in this town for over four years now,” he said.

Local business owner Michael Selbach is a board member on the Chamber of Commerce and works with Stovall’s firm.

As a member of the chamber, Selbach urged town board members to consider shopping locally whether it be for everyday household goods or even legal services for that matter.

While giving kudos to the town’s current legal counsel, he also extolled the virtues of Stovall’s legal practice in town.

“Bret Meich does a great job and has done so for quite some time. We’re not saying that you need to get rid of your attorney here. Maybe we can work with him, but at the same time if there is a way to buy locally and use local services, it makes all the difference to our community and we have seen it over and over again. Whether I work for Stovall or not, I would be up here supporting this presentation because shopping local is so important to me and it’s something that I have been working on for about six years,” Selbach said.

Board member Dr. Tom Waters noted that even though the presentation was not an action item for the board to vote on during the last regular meeting, he would have to recuse himself from voting due to a potential conflict of interest.

“Right now it’s a non-action item but if it was an action item, I would have to recuse myself because I‘m a client and I think anyone else on the board who is a client would probably have to recuse themselves, too. I don’t know where the votes would come from but I am very pleased to be a client,” he said.

Iglinski, meanwhile, noted that one of the main points of his presentation was to have the board consider how much money the town could save by using local legal services rather than a law firm from northern Nevada.

In fiscal year 2013-2014, the town spent more than $213,000 on legal services alone.

A majority of those funds went to retainer fees and services for defending the town’s lawsuit against the county regarding the 2012 ballot question.

Labor issues within the fire department ate up the lion’s share of legal fees for the town.

Negotiations with the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) forced the town to cough up $128,711 in FY14.

Interestingly, one of the most hotly debated local issues, incorporation, didn’t cost the town a cent on legal fees for the period.

Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said this week that he has no problems with the town’s legal counsel and he’s not certain if the town can indeed save money by changing over.

He also noted that counsel travels from Reno to Pahrump for board meetings.

“I believe we do pay for his time. I recall when we first hired the company, their coming in for town board meetings was included and we did not get billed extra for it. I believe all that changed under the 2011-12 town board. When they renegotiated the contract, they actually bill for their time. I have nothing against them and they are a good group. I was on the town board when we brought them in. I haven’t yet seen staff’s proposal yet. Do they want to bring Stovall in to use for smaller local things? I just don’t know,” Dolan said.

Town board members will revisit the item when the board convenes for their final meeting for the month of February on Tuesday at the Nye County Building, 2100 E. Walt Williams Drive.

The meeting begins at 5 p.m.

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