November 29, 2021


equality opinion

Cobb school board hires interim attorneys just after firing longtime law firm | News

The Cobb Board of Instruction employed Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough as its interim law organization Saturday, just two times following firing its longtime firm Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers.

The board’s vote was 6-1, with Jaha Howard in opposition. Howard requested that the board delay the vote right until every member had achieved with the new firm, but his recommendation was voted down by every other board member.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough currently represents Fulton County College District and Atlanta General public Educational facilities, Cobb Superintendent Chris Ragsdale said.

Nelson Mullins associates Nina Gupta and Suzann Wilcox will serve as co-guide counsel for the Cobb County Faculty District. Ragsdale reported he would arrange for a meet up with-and-greet between board associates and the Nelson Mullins lawyers this 7 days.

Nina Gupta

Suzann Wilcox

Suzann Wilcox

The board voted 4-3 Thursday to finish the faculty district’s agreement with Marietta-primarily based Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, with Democrats Charisse Davis, Jaha Howard and Tre’ Hutchins in opposition.

That vote was manufactured with no any general public dialogue as to why.

Howard asked at the Thursday meeting no matter whether there would be any discussion on the topic.

“That’s why we experienced (a shut-doorway discussion), so we would not be inadvertently into delicate spots,” board Chairman Randy Scamihorn replied.

Thursday’s vote also directed Ragsdale to compile a checklist of other companies serving faculty districts with extra than 70,000 pupils and existing it, alongside with a “recommendation for interim legal counsel,” to the board at Saturday’s distinctive-termed assembly.

The only districts with that several students are DeKalb, Gwinnett, Fulton and Cobb, Ragsdale claimed. Companies already symbolizing those districts were being Gregory Doyle Nelson Mullins and Thompson, Sweeny, Kinsinger & Pereira.

“Based on my conversations with partners at each firm, superintendents and other individuals, (Nelson Mullins) has the working experience and means allowing for it to constantly, reliably and well timed respond to the district’s elaborate lawful desires,” Ragsdale said.

Nelson Mullins will be “subjected to the similar every month retainer arrangement as at the moment exists” with Gregory Doyle, Ragsdale explained to the board just before their vote. The specifics of that retainer ended up not quickly readily available.

As the board’s longtime legal professional, Clem Doyle, a husband or wife at Gregory, Doyle, Calhoun & Rogers, until eventually now attended all meetings of the Cobb Board of Schooling, serving as parliamentarian.

Clem Doyle MUG.jpg

Clem Doyle

Gregory Doyle also signifies Marietta City Educational facilities. Marietta faculty board Chairwoman Angela Orange stated her district will preserve Doyle on as legal professional.

“We’re not taking into consideration any change to our Board of Education and learning legal professional, and we are incredibly glad with the get the job done of our law organization,” she mentioned. “I really do not know any facts about why Cobb designed that selection.”

Hutchins reported he couldn’t specify why the board fired its legislation business, but he mentioned they felt the university district wanted to “move in a distinct course.” He and his Democratic colleagues disagreed with the termination, but Hutchins mentioned he agreed that the Cobb Faculty District desires a change in its legal services.

“This is an prospect for us to evaluate our existing course of action,” he mentioned.

Doyle did not right deal with his termination in a statement to the MDJ.

“It has been a correct honor for me and for our agency to stand for the Cobb County University District,” he mentioned in an e-mail.

Nelson Mullins now serves Cobb County University District in an interim capacity. Thursday’s vote stipulates the board will discover permanent authorized counsel within just 12 months.

— MDJ reporter Shannon Ballew contributed to this report