Why did The Town of Dundee Spend $ 90,600 on legal fees in 2013?
Watchdog: Dundee Watchdog Manager, Waymon Meadows, wants the full story told to the citizens of Dundee in the budget meeting on August 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm. (Date not Website). He wants the citizens of Dundee to know who, what, when, where and why every penny was spent.
Apply Principles that reduce legal fees: He believes the budget should be $ 30,000.00 in 2014. He believes this can be accomplished applying the principles used by Pete Gardner, city manager of Eagle Lake.
Point Man: The Town Manager is the only person to contact the attorney after he has consulted with the Mayor. He plans agenda prior to council meeting to go over legal issues that eliminate long discussions in the meeting. Limits all items to three (3) minutes. If contact is needed it is handled over the phone or email.
Excerpts from article Edited by Harri, Weight How to reduce legal fees
Retain an attorney that bills you for the exact amount of work he performs. Some attorneys charge a minimum of a tenth of an hour or a quarter of an hour. Thus, if your attorney makes 1 call that lasts for 2 minutes, you could get charged for 15 minutes at his hourly rate. If you have an agreement that your attorney will charge only for the time actually spent on your case, your legal fees will be substantially lower. [ Instructs attorney that no one is allowed to talk with him except the town manager. If anyone calls him about town business he bills them, not the town of Dundee.]
Give your attorney only what she asks for, but give it to her quickly. Your attorney will need information from you. However, giving her irrelevant information will result in your attorney spending more time on your case to find what's important, which leads to higher billable hours and increased fees.
o Produce the information your attorney needs in a timely fashion. If she needs to ask you repeatedly for the information, her additional requests will generate more fees you have to pay.
o Promptly return all calls from your attorney or her staff. Your failure to return her calls will result in additional calls or letters from your attorney's office, and therefore additional fees.
Offer to work on your case by making copies, organizing documents or obtaining records related to your case. The more you can do, the less you will be charged.
Keep meetings with your attorney short and productive. Take notes or record your meetings. Come to the meetings with a list of discussion items. When you've finished the list, the meeting is over. Shorter, more productive meetings will equate to fewer billable hours for your attorney.
o Review your notes or recordings of meetings on a regular basis. By refreshing your memory with your notes, you will have a better understanding of what your attorney is doing for you and less need to contact him regularly.
Keep organized files. Your attorney will give you copies of documents filed or received in your case. If you have an organized copy of everything given to you, you may be able to review your file and answer questions without contacting your attorney.
Call your attorney only when you have a true concern or question about your case. Legal battles are emotional. Before you contact your attorney, determine if you are calling him because you have a concern regarding the legalities of the case or are calling because you are upset with the circumstances of the case. Venting to your attorney about issues not specific to your legal case will result in more billable hours, and therefore, higher costs.
Evaluate email communication with your attorney. Every communication must be read, whether it is relevant to your legal case or not. Therefore, think about what you are sending to your attorney before you send it. Only send documentation that is relevant to your case. By sending fewer email messages to your attorney, you will reduce your costs
Finally, Dundee Commission needs to determine why it spent $ 90,600.00 in 2013 and implement principles to reduce its legal fees to $ 30,000.00 or less in 2014 budget for the people of Dundee who are paying the bills. You should ask the hard questions and do your homework; Ask who, what, when, where and why every penny was spent. It surprised me that the auditing company did not make these suggestions.
Watchdog Manager, WaymonMeadows, wants the full story told to the citizens of Dundee in the budget meetingon August 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm. (Date not Website). He wants the citizens of Dundee to know who, what, when, where and why every penny was spent.