City’s attorney resigns
After five years of service, Lenoir City Attorney Jim Scott has resigned from his position to focus on an increased caseload at his firm.
Scott, who works at Stokes, Williams, Sharp & Davies in downtown Knoxville, signed on with the city in 2010.
In addition to offering counsel at Lenoir City Council meetings, Scott’s duties as the municipality’s part-time attorney included reviewing public documents and grant applications, drawing up city policy and prosecuting cases at Lenoir City Municipal Court. Lawsuits in the city are litigated by assigned attorneys with the Tennessee Municipal League.
“The demands of my practice and the volume of cases ... that I’m currently handling necessitated that I make sacrifices,” Scott said about his resignation. “I have truly enjoyed serving the city over the last half decade.”
He said the number of hours he has spent serving the city and offering legal counsel varied from week to week but could range from four hours to more than 20.
“It was truly one of the most enjoyable experiences that I could professionally ever hope for,” Scott said. “The members of the city council, the community and the people that worked for city government itself always treated me with the upmost kindness and respect.”
Lenoir City Assistant Manager Amber Scott, no relation, said Jim Scott’s resignation will be effective July 31.
As part of its 2015-16 budget, Lenoir City Council has allocated $45,000 toward the city attorney position, along with a separate line item of $15,000 designated for professional services.
“We leave that in there just in case,” Amber Scott said about the additional $15,000 allocation. “Like last year at the end of 14-15, we had only used like $5,000 of it.”
Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens said the city will utilize an attorney on an interim basis, but as of Friday, city officials had not selected a specific attorney or firm to provide day-to-day legal services and counsel.
“Jim has represented the city well,” Aikens said. “He wanted to explore some other options, and we are certainly obviously going to miss him and wish him the best.”
Aikens said the city has used the services of Shannon Littleton, who also serves as general manager with Lenoir City Utilities Board, in the past, among other lawyers.
“Obviously, he wouldn’t be able to if he’s involved in any utility matters,” Aikens said about Littleton, noting the city will use an interim attorney for the foreseeable future.
“We’re in no hurry to do anything,” Aikens said about hiring a new city attorney. “Anything that comes up we’ll do whatever it takes to move it forward, and I’m sure Jim, if we need him, he would be able to accommodate us as well.
“We’re confident that we can do it this way for awhile, and see how it works out,” Aikens added. “If it doesn’t work out we’ll do a little searching and see what we come up with.”
Jim Scott said he thought that given Lenoir City’s growth in recent years, officials could potentially consider adding a full-time city attorney, or law director, as the position is called in some municipalities.
“Lenoir City’s very fortunate to have community leaders that have grown the city at an unusually fast rate compared to other cities of similar populations,” Jim Scott said. “At some juncture I think with the rate of economic growth, which I see continuing in Lenoir City, it’s going to make demand increase exponentially.”