MORROW The City of Morrow is paying $3,492.82 more for its new city attorney than its previous one — despite the new lawyer working for a shorter period of time, records show.
A review of City Council agendas for the last three months show Morrow City Attorney Greg Hecht billed the city $18,949 for work he performed between mid-January and the end of February.
By comparison, former City Attorney Laurel Henderson billed the city $15,456.18 for work she performed between mid-November and the end of February. Her work decreased this year after she transferred much of the city’s legal caseload to Hecht. She is still doing some work for the city, closing out cases she has been working on since before her resignation.
The council voted 3-0 to approve a cumulative payment of $19,371.75 to Hecht and Henderson without comment Tuesday. The payments were for legal services they provided in January and February. Councilman Virlyn Slaton did not attend the meeting.
The higher cost of Hecht’s services seemingly comes in spite of promises city leaders made in January that they would negotiate a lower price for his work if he was hired to replace Henderson.
Henderson tendered her resignation in November while claiming the council was consulting outside attorneys without her knowledge. She agreed to “replace” herself and serve as an “interim” city attorney until a permanent replacement could be hired.
When Hecht was hired, Councilman Larry Ferguson insisted on a negotiated lower price because the attorney’s firm was the most expensive of four groups seeking to replace Henderson. He told city leaders during an interview that his services could cost as much as $245 per hour.
Henderson charged $150 per hour.
Hecht and another law firm also tied for last place in a tally of scores given to each firm by Ferguson, Mayor Joseph “J.B.” Burke, Councilwoman Jeanell Bridges and Councilman Bob Huie.
Here is what city records show about how much money has been paid to Hecht and Henderson since February:
• Henderson’s firm, Henderson and Hundley PC, billed the city $14,387.43 for work performed between Nov. 14 and Dec. 31. The City Council approved payment Feb. 12.
• Hecht submitted a bill for $646 Feb. 13 and the council approved payment during its March 12 meeting.
• Hecht’s firm, Hecht Walker, submitted a bill for $18,303 March 7 for work performed during February. The council approved payment Tuesday.
• Henderson’s firm sent the city a $1,068.75 bill March 14 for work performed in January and February. Payment was approved Tuesday.