Is It Legal?
Retiring City Attorney Jim Pendland says yes, for two primary reasons. First, the city attorney is a charter officer so there isn't the typical employer/employee relationship. Second, commissioners want to make the incoming attorney a contract position, which means they will work on an as needed basis without set hours or benefits and keep his or her old job.
Mayor Tom DePeter says if he thought there was a conflict of interest he wouldn't have applied for the job. But he acknowledges if he gets the job, it will be a new role.
"It will be a change in approach from actively arguing the different laws and ordinances that come before the commission and merely advising the other commissioners about the legal aspects of individual actions that they take," says DePeter.
William Whitley, the town attorney for both Fort White and Worthington Springs has also applied for the job. The High Springs Commission is due to interview both men on August 9th. If chosen, Depeter will either resign his position or wait until his term expires.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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