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School Board Finalizes Legal Services Agreement with Outside Firm


BRADENTON - On Monday, the Manatee School Board passed its drafted contract with its newly-selected legal counsel, Dye, Deitrich, Petruff and St. Paul, PL, in a unanimous vote. The vote came after the board decided to pass, with the firm's agreement, two revisions to the contract proposed by board member David Miner in a special meeting prior to the regular one.

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Retirng school board attorney John Bowen (left) and board

member Bob Gause

The first revision proposed by Miner would reduce the hourly rate for litigation services from $185 per hour to $165. Miner explained that though he thought the firm was not undeserving of its offered $185 rate for such services, he believed that a lower rate was necessary as a cost-saving measure.

The firm accepted the counter-offer without quarrel, with a present attorney stating that since the board already refers most of its litigation to outside counsel, the reduced rate was not an issue. The motion, seconded by Bob Gause, passed 4-1, with Vice Chair Julie Aranibar dissenting.

The second revision proposed adds specificity to financial reimbursements afforded to the firm. The added language states that the board will pay the firm's dues for being a member of the Florida School Board Associaion, and that the firm will only receive travel reimbursements for in-state travel, at the same rate as district employees, when it is necessary for the firm to attend legal seminars related to their work for the district.

The second motion passed unanimously after being seconded by Gause, and again without protest from the firm.


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