By Steve Plunkett

 

Four lawyers — all representing other municipalities — want to be the town’s next attorney.

Highland Beach commissioners will interview the candidates Dec. 8 for the successor to Tom Sliney, who resigned effective Dec. 31 after Commissioner Dennis Sheridan said he wanted to find out how much other firms would charge to represent the town.

Sliney, who has been Highland Beach’s attorney since 1973, is given a monthly retainer of $9,000 plus costs. His firm, Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs LLP, did not bid to continue the contract.

The lawyers who want the job are:

• Tom Baird, town attorney for Jupiter and code enforcement prosecutor for Lake Park. 

Baird, who earned his law degree from Nova Southeastern University in Davie in 1984, represented Highland Beach in its successful lawsuit to delay the county from building Milani Park until 2020.

Baird’s colleague, John “Skip” Randolph, is town attorney for Gulf Stream, Palm Beach and Jupiter Island, which their firm’s bid notes are “much like Highland Beach, in that each of these communities enjoy both oceanfront and Intracoastal waterway properties with high real estate values.”

Baird wants $195 an hour to represent the town.

• Brad Biggs, town attorney for South Palm Beach, Golf and Royal Palm Beach and assistant town attorney for Lantana. 

Biggs’ firm notes it successfully defended South Palm Beach against an appeal by a bicyclist who was cited for riding more than two abreast. “The regulation of bicycle riders along State Road A1A continues to be an issue of utmost importance to many seaside communities,” the firm’s bid notes.

Biggs, with a degree from Nova’s law school in 1998, seeks $165 an hour for general representation of Highland Beach. 

Among his firm’s colleagues: Manalapan Town Attorney Trela White and Lantana Town Attorney Max Lohman.

• Ken Spillias, town attorney for Ocean Ridge and onetime Palm Beach County commissioner.

Spillias, who has a degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, also represented the Ballantrae condominium in its successful quest to be annexed into Gulf Stream.

He would charge $260 an hour or set up a retainer system like the one he has with Ocean Ridge, which pays him $6,000 a month.

• Glen Torcivia, town attorney for Sewall’s Point in Martin County, Palm Springs and Belle Glade. 

Torcivia, who got a law degree from Union University in Albany, N.Y., in 1979, started his law firm after a five-year stint as an assistant Palm Beach County attorney.

He wants $195 an hour if selected.

The firms seem willing to lower their fees if necessary to land Highland Beach’s business.

“The firm is eager to represent the town and would not allow the hourly rate to preclude its representation should its standard rate be of issue,” Baird’s proposal says.

Spillias says his firm knows local governments face declining tax revenues. 

“To that end, the firm expresses its willingness to freely negotiate its rates in the event the town selects us,” his bid says.

“The position of town attorney is one that demands a high level of integrity and trust and since any firm selected serves at the pleasure of the Town Commission, we believe that  a letter of engagement is sufficient,” he wrote.               Ú


 

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