MSD Begins Work Restructuring Outside Legal Services

by Erica Peterson on January 9, 2012

The Metropolitan Sewer District board has begun work to address the numerous concerns raised by state Auditor Crit Luallan in a report late last year.

In her audit, Luallan was critical of the way MSD handles outside legal services, including the fact that attorney Larry Zielke’s firm had been handling MSD’s work since 1984.

During the board’s meeting today, MSD legal director Paula Purifoy laid out several recommendations to the board for resolving the issues, including that Zielke’s contract be formally terminated on all but five ongoing cases.

Purifoy put four other recommendations up for a vote by the board, including a provision to request proposals for legal services.

“Designate the legal services contract as a professional services contract that should be periodically advertised and competitively negotiated to ensure that MSD’s best interests are met,” she said.

The recommendations passed unanimously.

The board also rescinded a resolution that’s been on the books for nearly 28 years. It allowed the board’s legal counsel to review and approve all documents before they’re submitted to the board for action. In the audit, Luallan expressed concern that the policy could potentially give the legal counsel too much power to hinder the board’s actions.

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