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Bibb County School District Switches Law Firm Affiliation
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A school board in Bibb County has been fighting internally about its relationship with a law firm. The fight is regarding whether or not the lengthy relationship with the firm shows consistency and successful collaboration or a sign for new perspectives. Last week, the school board split a vote 5-3 in favor of replacing the law firm of Jones, Cork & Miller of Macon. The new firm the school board will work with is that of Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover of Atlanta.

Jeffery Monroe was the school’s representative for quite some time as a member of the Macon law firm. Monroe shook hands with the board members after the vote was announced and he claims the transition to a new firm will be very quick.

  
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“We’ve had a good run with the board for over 70 years, and that quality accounts for our time,” he said.

The president of the school board is Tommy Barnes, who claims the school system possibly became wedded to conducting business in a certain method. Barnes compared changing law firms to that of changing horses.

“Not necessarily because the horse we have wasn’t running well, but because we’ll be running a different type of race,” he said.

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Romain Dallemand is the superintendent of the Bibb school district and was the main person pushing for the change in law firms. Dallemand claims that the long relationship could be viewed as a liability and declared that the district needed to work with other terms.

“I do believe we need to look at and revisit our legal services every year, and we need to send out a (request for proposal) every year, so we can look at ways to better meet the needs of the district,” Dallemand said. “Not every 50 years.”



A letter was written in support of keeping the Macon law firm employed by the school district because of its lead education attorney. The lead education attorney is Warren Plowden.

The vote occurred only 30 minutes after discussion by the school board and the community. Those who voted in favor of the new law firm were Barnes, Susan Middleton, Ella Carter, Tom Hudson and Wanda West. Those members who voted against it were Gary Bechtel, Susan Sipe and Lynn Farmer.

The board members, whether or not they voted for the switch, offered opinions or criticisms of the firm Jones, Cork & Miller. The board members did not discuss any of the eight law firms that had offered proposals to the school district.

In 2010, the school district spent nearly $714,000 on legal services with their old law firm. Dallemand is hoping to hire an attorney that will work in-house for a much more affordable price.

The outside legal work of the school district will be conducted by the new firm; Hall, Booth, Smith & Slover, which charges $150 per hour for most of its attorney work.



 

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