Platte County Commission okays pact at $375 per hour
dvice regarding constitutional and statutory powers of the Platte County Commission regarding Platte County business.
That’s the topic of legal advice the commission is seeking from the law firm of Graves Garrett LLC, the nationwide law firm of Todd Graves, former prosecutor for Platte County.
On Tuesday, commissioners unanimously approved an amendment to a letter of engagement they’ve had with Graves Garrett since 2018. The amendment calls for the county to pay Graves Garrett $375 per hour for “legal analysis and advice regarding constitutional and statutory powers of the Platte County Commission regarding Platte County business, which can include the drafting of related orders, memoranda and documents.”
According to the agreement, “this engagement does not encompass financial or tax advice.”
David Park, candidate for second district county commissioner, asked “Isn’t this something the county counselor should be able to handle at a lower rate?” Bob Shaw, county counselor, is compensated at a considerably lower rate than the $375 per hour in the agreement with Graves Garrett. Shaw said he provides his county counselor services to the Platte County Commission at the discounted rate of $160 per hour.
Shaw was in the audience for the discussion, having presented an agenda item to the commissioners earlier in the meeting.
“Bob, we are still using your services but there are times other attorneys are necessary,” Ron Schieber, presiding commissioner, said to Shaw, adding “we appreciate your work.”
Schieber said commissioners feel Graves Garrett is a “better fit” in this situation. “Some attorneys have strengths in some areas, some attorneys have strengths in other areas,” Schieber said.
“There are certain things where we feel that this is a better opportunity. You may have seen all of our postings in the last few weeks, the legal meetings we’ve been having. There are legal issues in the county we are currently addressing. Those issues are covered by attorney/client privilege.”
According to the commissioners’ daily online calendar, there have been five posted times they’ve held closed legal meetings with Graves Garrett in the month of May.
Commissioners were tight-lipped about what has prompted the issue.
“What’s the end game?” asked David Park, candidate for second district county commissioner during public comments on the agenda item.
Schieber declined to be more specific, again saying the details are “covered by attorney/client privilege and the Sunshine Law.”