By Justin Franz, 7-29-12
||Caption: Troy City Hall. - File Photo | Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
For the first time since February, Troy has a city attorney. Charles Evans was rehired by the city council during a special meeting on Monday, July 23.
Evans previously served as city attorney until earlier this year, when he was fired during a dragged out dispute between the city council and former Mayor Donald Banning. Banning had tried to fire Evans in January without the council’s consent, which was one of the reasons Councilor Fran McCully petitioned Lincoln County election officials for a mayoral recall. Banning lost the recall election in May and has since been replaced by Tony Brown.
Without a city attorney, Troy was unable to prosecute crimes, forcing the local court to drop charges from speeding tickets to assault.
“They decided to give me another try,” Evans said.
Evans was awarded a two-year contract and will work on an hourly basis, along with a $500 a month salary to cover things like secretary expenses. Evans said he would be paid $65 an hour. The new hourly arrangement is an attempt to trim the city's budget.
According to the attorney, three people applied for the position and Brown decided to go with Evans because he already knew the job. Evans was appointed with an unanimous vote by the four-person council.
“I'm pleased that we got everything worked out and I'm glad it was a unanimous vote,” Evans said. “Hopefully things have smoothed over and we'll have smooth sailing in the future.”
But Evans was not everyone's first choice. Councilor Joe Arts said he thinks there were better candidates available but voted in favor of Evans in an attempt to help the city move forward.
“We needed a city attorney desperately and so I would have voted for anyone,” Arts said. “(Evans) is better than nothing at all.”
Arts had been an adamant supporter of Banning during the recall process and supported his decision to fire Evans. After Banning was informed that firing Evans without the consent of council was illegal, he put it to a vote during a regular meeting on Feb. 15. Two councilors voted in favor of termination and two voted against. Banning cast the deciding vote to terminate.
With Evans back in office, he said he planned on reviewing many of the cases that had been dropped and prosecuting cases that have not been dismissed. Arts was hopeful that Evans would work hard for the town.
“We're slowly moving forward,” Arts said. “There is still a lot of hard feelings and it's going to take time, but we need to pull together and get back to work.”
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