July 20, 2004
The search continues for an in-house attorney for the Scottsdale Unified School District.
On July 1, the district began accepting applications for the $80,000- to $110,000-a-year position, and on July 12 it conducted the first round of interviews.
But Superintendent John Baracy said the position has yet to be filled.
"We are going to be reviewing applications again and see where that takes us," he said. "We want someone chosen as soon as possible."
The district’s fiscal 2003-04 legal fees, through contracting with an outside law firm, are expected to be almost $800,000.
Governing board member Joel Feldman said the district could save money by using an in-house lawyer. Someone on staff would also be more accessible than an outside law firm, he said.
"The district will have an attorney on staff that is just next door to bounce ideas off of," he said, adding that an inhouse lawyer would have a better understanding of the district. "This is better than calling an attorney at an office that they don’t know."
But the district still might use an outside lawyer in some situations, Feldman said.
"There will be specialized areas that the in-house attorney may need help with," he said. "But that attorney will know what to look for in an outside attorney and will closely monitor what that attorney does. Right now there is no one in the district that really knows how to closely monitor an outside attorney."
District spokesman Tom Herrmann said the applicants have been very talented people, but the district is being cautious.
"We are looking for academics and experience but also just the right person to work with the group here in place," he said. "I wouldn’t say that the candidates have been weak or that they have rejected our offers. The right person just hasn’t been found."
Baracy said he’s not sure when more interviews will take place.