Lehighton district to keep lawyer
William Schwab and Associates will remain Lehighton Area School District’s solicitor for at least the next six months.
Last week, Lehighton’s school board reappointed the firm by a 5-4 vote, extending the agreement through the district’s reorganization meeting in December.
“The district will be going out for a request for proposals for legal services, so to give us time to do that, Mr. Schwab has been kind enough to extend his services for six months,” Lehighton Business Administrator Patricia Denicola said at the June 24 meeting.
Attorney Eric Filer, who has been attending most recent Lehighton board meetings, will continue to do so, according to a letter submitted by Schwab’s firm on May 17. Schwab said the rate for his firm’s services is $165 per hour.
Director David Bradley, who has long been critical of the firm’s representation, was one of four board members to vote down the motion, joining Joy Beers, Gail Maholick and Richard Beltz.
“He’s been our solicitor for decades and I feel like a second set of eyes could be beneficial,” Bradley said. “I have talked to several people who would recommend that as well.”
Bradley criticized Schwab for not being personally responsive as of late.
“I’m not aware of any requests from the board we haven’t responded to,” Filer said.
According to the letter submitted by Schwab, the law firm of King Spry would continue to work for the district as backup and support for his firm as needed at $175 per hour.
“This includes the area of special education where they have in the past been designated as our attorney for insurance matters,” the letter states.
“This is consistent with prior practice.”
King Spry would also be used “when a particular issue requires more in-depth coverage than I can provide,” Schwab wrote.
“Given the district’s budgetary circumstance and talking about getting things back in line, it might make sense to not vote for this and go for an hourly rate with an open contract,” Beers said.
According to Filer, the agreement guarantees the firm’s work for six months, but the district has the right to go get a new attorney at any time.
Board President Larry Stern voted to retain Schwab for six months, joining directors Andrew Yenser, Rita Spinelli, Wayne Wentz and Stephen Holland.
“The firm has proven experience in educational law,” Stern said.