Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Define Best Qualified...

As promised, a little (or maybe a lot) about the ones who got away… or were turned away… or didn’t make it… whatever. I’m going to delve a little into the qualifications of the top three contenders for Fayette County’s new in-house attorney.

Wandering around on Google I found tons of information on two of the three top candidates for position. Per Interim County Manager Jack Krakeel a total of 23 applied for the position. Six made it to the top tier and were interviewed by the Commissioners. Three were selected as finalists (sounds like a beauty pageant doesn’t it?). The top three were Scott Bennett (who they ultimately selected), Gary Moore and Gia Compton.

It was a piece of cake to find out info on both Gary Moore and Gia Compton. Couldn’t find a negative word anywhere about either. When Googling Gia’s name I came up with a lot of references to adoption and child advocacy representation. She’s currently the City Attorney for Greenville in Meriwether County and lives in Conyers. I saw a reference to her holding the position as an attorney with the State Department of Health and a listing for her under “Divorce” attorneys. Overall the impression I had after glancing through some blog postings she made and the issues she chose to focus on was of a very nice lady.

I didn’t see much that would have put her into the top three though. However, it’s only a Google search. IF (big if) I found everything of importance out about Compton it really makes me wonder about the other 20 whose names will not be released per the Commission’s ruling. They must have been pretty sorry.

When I googled Gary Moore I found tons of information. Again, not one bad word. He has at least 32 years of experience, including serving as the attorney for Glynn County. His background is in civil rights, constitutional law (bet he wouldn’t make the mistake of banning recorders at public meetings!), developmental law, business and commercial law, property, government law, real estate transactions, workers compensation, etc., etc. He was the attorney for City of Darian and the Darian Downtown Development Authority. The list of companies and accomplishments was long.

You have to wonder how an attorney with only six years experience beat someone like Gary Moore out for the job. I’m not privy to the criteria for the interviews or the qualifications for the job. Could be they offered Moore the job and he didn’t like the salary. Although he had to have some idea of what the salary range was when he applied… Could be some deep dark secret appeared after he cleared the pack of 23 and then the pack of six. Nah, the Sheriff was on the vetting committee, surely a background check was done on the top tier at least. They had a tax guy on the committee, too, so it’s doubtful he had a problem with his taxes…

So, why did they choose Eric Maxwell’s attorney? What is it about a six-year attorney with virtually no positive history to be found when Googled? I checked Lexus-Nexus, the Georgia Bar and FindLaw. He’s pretty much an invisible entity.

So, why did they choose Eric Maxwell’s attorney? There were a total of 23 who applied for the position. Their names are to be forever hidden (unless one of them reads this blog and contacts me ). How come an attorney with minimal experience in the areas that matter when representing the county beats out 22 others who thought they met the criteria?

How did Eric Maxwell’s attorney make it to the top of the heap? When asked, the Commissioners parroted “best-qualified” and had nice things to say about Bennett’s personality. Best qualified? Google “Gary Moore” and look at his qualifications. You can read my previous blog for more on Scott Bennett’s qualifications. Compare the two. Tell me who’s best qualified!

So, how did the Board choose Eric Maxwell’s attorney? Maxwell led the charge to get rid of Bill McNally, the previous attorney. Seems like if the goal was to save costs they’d want to hire someone with at least a token amount of comparable experience. McNally has the reputation as the best County Attorney in the State so it’s not possible to come close to his level of expertise, especially when you toss in the rest of his firm who had a wide assortment of experience.

With the new in-house attorney it’s a given they’ll be hiring more help soon and that they’ll be using outside counsel to help him out. Not sure if you watched the video, but I did catch the fact that Chairman Jack Smith said Bennett was asked to be the new county attorney and to “establish the legal department”. How long do you think a “legal department” will be comprised of just one attorney and a legal secretary?

Maxwell made a big deal out of keeping out of the process of choosing an attorney at the Board Retreat in Callaway Gardens Resort earlier this year. So how’d we end up with his attorney?

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