(Posted March 25, 2020)
By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer
Like other municipalities in the county, Mount Sterling village council took precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) by closing town hall to the public during its meeting on March 23. As usual, the proceedings were aired through a live video feed available through Youtube.
Council passed only one piece of legislation during the session–a resolution authorizing the village to enter into contract with Frost Brown Todd LLC for legal services. This would effectively fill the vacancy for village solicitor left when former solicitor Mark Pitstick resigned from the position in late December.
According to Mayor Marci Darlington, who met with Stephen Smith, director of the firm’s Columbus office, the firm regularly deals in municipal law and has experience with the Ohio Municipal League.
Frost Brown Todd is a large law firm. As of yet, a specific attorney has not been assigned to Mount Sterling, Darlington said.
Initially, the plan is for the solicitor to charge by the hour and come only to select meetings, thereby saving the village some money, with the possibility of a flat monthly rate being negotiated at a later time.
Such select meetings would include the nuisance and abatement Committee meetings, Darlington said. One of the tasks assigned to the new solicitor will be drafting code for the village’s code enforcement. Another will be drafting procedure and then training council on it.
Council member Becky Martin brought to the rest of council’s attention a problem with the wording of the contract. It referred to the solicitor as reporting to a village manager, a position that is not part of Mount Sterling’s administrative structure. The oversight was noted, and Darlington and council agreed to have the term stricken from the contract.