The Shafter City Council approved an amended agreement with the firm of Best/Best and Krieger as the city's attorneys. Marco Martinez will be the designated Shafter city attorney for the firm.
The city agreed to pay the firm a flat rate of $16,500 per month for a maximum of 62 billable hours. Any services by the firm that exceed 70 hours for the month will be billed at a rate of $288 per hour for attorneys and $155 per hour for paralegals and law clerks.
For special legal services, the city will pay the firm an hourly rate of $305 per hour for attorneys and $175 per hour for paralegals and clerks.
Special services include litigation and formal administrative or other hearing matters, labor negotiations and complex employment matters, non-routine real estate matters, non-routine matters regarding taxes, fees and charges and non-routine CEQA and other environmental matters.
The rate increases are linked to the Consumer Price Index. The ultimate impact of this cost will depend on the amount of legal services used, which can vary greatly depending upon the projects and activities of the city. The new agreement will commence on Oct. 1.
The council also had a couple of presentations at the beginning of the meeting. They recognized the work of the Friends of the Shafter Library. The group raises money that enables the library to move from good to great, providing the resources for additional programming and equipment. Mayor Cathy Prout said, "the Friends' gift of their time and commitment to the library sets an example for all in how volunteerism leads to positive civic engagement and the betterment of the community."
The council also had a presentation done by the Shafter Woman's Club recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Barbara Gladden of the SWC told the council, "Domestic violence is a serious crime that affects people of all ages, races, genders and income levels. This year, our Shafter Police Department has responded to 105 calls of domestic violence. This number is less than last year, but still too many."
She went on to say that they had a pledge that people can take to stand against domestic violence and promise to help raise the awareness of the issue. Several members of the council and the audience joined the club in reciting the pledge in response to Gladden's call.