Oak Harbor’s well-liked but expensive interim city attorney will continue on the job for at least another six months.
Oak Harbor City Council unanimously approved a contract extension last Tuesday night with Grant Weed, an attorney with the the Snohomish law firm Weed, Graafstra and Benson.
Under the terms of the contract, the city will pay Weed a retainer of $6,400 a month for 40 hours of work. He’ll earn $170 an hour for any work beyond the 40 hours.
City Administrator Larry Cort said Weed cost the city an average of $18,654 a month over the past 10 months. That equates to about $222,000 a year.
“You are just so darn expensive,” Councilwoman Tara Hizon told Weed.
City leaders have few options.
After Mayor Scott Dudley fired two city attorneys during the first six months of his administration, the city has had difficulty finding candidates willing to apply for the job.
Last month, Dudley appointed an attorney to the position, but the council refused to confirm his candidate because of their concerns about his lack of experience.
The attorney would have earned $101,000 a year, plus benefits, for a total package worth $135,000 a year.
Weed, an attorney with a lot of municipal experience, was hired last summer as the interim city attorney on a contract basis. He was not intended to be a permanent solution.
Cort said last week that the city’s prosecutor will be doing more civil work in order to “cross-train” and save the city some money in attorney’s fees.
In addition, he said legal staff at the city has also asked to be more involved in the civil side.