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Hecht tapped to be Morrow's city attorney

Morrow Downtown Development Authority attorney Greg Hecht addresses the Morrow City Council Tuesday night. The council later appointed Hecht to be its new city attorney.

Morrow Downtown Development Authority attorney Greg Hecht addresses the Morrow City Council Tuesday night. The council later appointed Hecht to be its new city attorney.

— The Morrow City Council appointed Greg Hecht its new city attorney Tuesday night.

Despite the objections of councilman Larry Ferguson, who said Hecht’s firm is the most expensive among the law firms that applied for the position, the council voted 4-0 in favor of Hecht.

During discussions, Ferguson threw his support behind attorney Steven Fincher, citing his experience in municipal law and his “competitive price.” Ferguson urged fellow council members to “consider that as we serve the citizens, we must do the right things for the citizens.” However, when the vote came, Ferguson made it unanimous, but asked for provisions that make the hiring contingent upon the negotiation of a lower price for services.

The city had been looking for a new city attorney since their previous one, Laurel Henderson, announced her intention to resign last November. In Henderson’s resignation letter, she accused the city council of “routinely” meeting with an unidentified attorney behind her back.

At the same time, the council was consulting an outside attorney who did not stop them as they attempted to levy sanctions against Mayor Joseph “J.B.” Burke.

The council backed off its efforts to punish Burke after it was accused of repeatedly violating Georgia’s Open Meetings Law.

Henderson agreed in December to stay with the city until a new attorney was hired.

Earlier this month, the city council interviewed Hecht (of Hecht, Walker, Attorneys at Law), Fincher (of Fincher, Denmark and Williams LLC), Robert Mack Jr. and Joe Harris (of Mack and Harris, P.C.) and Leigh Hancher and Jessica Whatley (of Whalen Law Firm).

All of the candidates came with experience in dealing with governments.

Hecht is the attorney for the Morrow Downtown Development Authority, where he answers to Planning and Economic Development Director Michael McLaughlin. Burke and McLaughlin have been at odds with each other for months.

Fincher is the attorney for several cities, including Jonesboro and Lake City. He also represents all of Clayton County’s cities in their ongoing battle with the county government over a service delivery strategy and Local Option Sales Tax agreement.

Mack and Harris are the attorneys for the Forest Park City Council. For a time in the 1990s, Harris was also the acting city attorney for Atlanta, according to his biography on the Mack and Harris, P.C. website.

Hancher and Whatley are the city attorneys for McDonough.

The interview scores for each candidate were not immediately available Tuesday.