Michael Shuler will remain Franklin County’s attorney and will not receive a pay raise.
After three months of debate, Commissioner William Massey on Tuesday moved to refuse all bids for the position of county attorney and “leave it as it is.”
The motion passed 3-2 with Commissioners Pinki Jackel and Cheryl Sanders opposed. This action means that Shuler continues in his role, at his original rate of reimbursement.
The search for a new attorney began at the Dec. 4, 2012 meeting when Massey asked Shuler if he was under contract and how much he was paid. Shuler said he had been under contract since 2001 and received $80 per hour. This led to a motion by Commissioner Pinki Jackel, seconded by Massey, to advertise for the bids for the position of county attorney.
Jackel said it would give the commission, “an opportunity to evaluate who we do business with.” Under her motion, the attorney contract would be re-evaluated every two years.
On Jan. 15, the commissioners opened bids from five attorneys, including Shuler. Under his new proposal, Shuler’s fee would increase to $90 hourly. Kristy Banks, of Eastpoint, offered the lowest bid at $90 an hour for legal duties and $70 for non-legal matters.
At the Feb. 5 meeting, the commissioners interviewed Shuler, Banks, Ethan Way, of Tallahassee, Shalene Grover, of Marianna, and Daniel Cox, of Carrabelle.
At that meeting, Massey and Commission Chairman Cheryl Sanders said they had received telephone threats to influence their votes on the matter in favor of Shuler. The commission voted to table the choice of attorney, at that meeting and again at the Feb. 19 meeting.
But on Tuesday, the matter was decided without further discussion. The only job candidates present were Shuler and, in the audience, Banks.
When the topic was raised, Jackel immediately moved that Way be named county attorney. The motion died for lack of a second. Jackel then moved that Banks be awarded the position. This motion also died without a second.