After an extensive study to determine the financial feasibility of such an action, the City of Goleta announced that it will be hiring its own in-house attorney to replace the firm currently working under contract as the city’s general counsel. The new attorney, Tim Giles, is scheduled to start his new job on August 25th, until which time, Camarillo-based Burke, Williams & Sorensen will continue providing legal services for the city.
“The motivation for the council to hire an in-house attorney was the opportunity to save money,” explained city manager Dan Singer. “This really reduces the hourly cost of having an attorney.”
Even while being paid an annual salary of $160,000 - plus benefits, retirement package, and an automobile allowance - Singer said having an attorney on the city staff is expected to save on the current rate being paid, which is usually between $220 and $250 per hour. “We did a fairly comprehensive analysis of this, and having someone at our fingertips will be an asset to the city,” said Singer. “On the other hand, [Giles] is not an expert at every aspect.” For some tasks, the city will still occasionally call upon the services of Burke, Williams & Sorensen.
Giles, currently the assistant city attorney in Thousand Oaks, is a graduate of the Pepperdine University School of Law. The Kansas native has lived in California for the past 27 years, and is looking forward to working with the City of Goleta.
“Litigation costs have risen significantly, and my challenges include getting litigation cases against the city resolved and helping the council in its efforts to negotiate the revenue neutrality agreement,” said Giles. He believes that the city will benefit greatly by having an attorney on hand to work with and become familiar with the legal issues in the planning process from the outset.