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NCFPD transitions legal counsel

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The North County Fire Protection District will be making changes with regard to the district’s legal counsel.

A 5-0 NCFPD board vote Jan. 24 approved determining the roles, responsibilities, and transition timeline between current legal counsel Bob James and new legal counsel Burke & Associates. Burke & Associates will take over as general counsel while James will be retained as special counsel.

“The board basically voted for a six-month transition,” said NCFPD fire chief Keith McReynolds.

“They will review my activity as special counsel at the end of the fiscal year,” James said.

Loren Stephen-Porter was the fire district’s Executive Administrative Assistant and was also the Board Secretary for board meetings before she retired in December. Stephen-Porter had paralegal experience and used that for NCFPD activity. After Stephen-Porter’s retirement NCFPD staff issued a request for proposals for expanded legal services.

“The board felt that the district needed a deeper bench with multiple legal disciplines,” McReynolds said.

McReynolds explained that the fire district matters involve labor laws, real estate laws, election laws, and special district laws. “The board felt that it would be better for the district to be represented by a firm with all those broad disciplines, not just an individual,” he said.

The evaluation of the proposals received determined Burke & Associates to be the best firm for the expanded range of legal services. The fire district began contracting with Burke & Associates for expanded general counsel services effective Jan. 1.

James, who received his law degree from the University of San Diego in 1969, was hired as the legal counsel for what was then the Fallbrook Fire Protection District by original fire chief Ed Thurber in the early 1970s. James is given a monthly retainer of $1,250 along with $225 per hour for additional legal services.

“I’m still working there,” he said.

 

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