Tuesday, March 1, 2011

City Council Hires Kinchen and Valley To Defend Pride Lawsuit; Say City Attorney Mitchell Conflicted

HELENA-WEST HELENA- Saying City Attorney Chalk Mitchell was only representing the interests of the Mayor and not defending the position of the City Council, the Helena-West Helena City Council retained the services of Attorneys Robert Kinchen and James Valley to represent the City Council on a 6-4 vote.

Alderman Marvin Jarrett, after recapping the Mitchell position in direct opposition to the position of the majority of the City Council, made the motion to hire Kinchen and Valley.  An irate Mayor Arnell Willis interjected, "You just heard the financial report.  The money's not here.  This council just keeps spending money."  Alderman Christopher Franklin replied, "You just spent $60000 on lawsuits (Roosevelt Collins/ Jimmie Wilson case) without coming to us.  You had money for that.  You did that on your own."

Alderman Don Etherly said, "The City Attorney has taken a position opposite the City Council.  He is conflicted.  We need our own lawyer."

Etherly, Jarrett, Franklin, Larry Brown, Lakesia Chandler, and Monica Davis voted to hire Kinchen and Valley.  Aldermen Jay Hollowell, Joe St. Columbia, Eddie Clark, and Daniel Strickland voted no.  City Attorney Mitchell agrees with the position of that minority of the council in court.

In other business, the council, by the same 6-4 vote, retained Attorney Vandell Bland to give it advice during council meetings saying the City Attorney doesn't fairly represent the entire city, just the Mayor.

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