Kalamazoo County hires new lawyer as company counsel

KALAMAZOO, MI — Virtually two decades right after the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners fired its past head lawyer, the county has picked a new lawyer to retain the services of.

On Tuesday, Sept. 20, the board of commissioners voted to approve a a few-calendar year work agreement for Angelina Barnes, effective Oct. 11, as company counsel. The base salary for the position is $123,884.80, Kalamazoo County Administrator Kevin Catlin advised MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette.

Barnes is at present an attorney at Automobile Proprietors Insurance policy, where by she gives legal suggestions in the parts of human means, work regulation, lifetime insurance policies, contracts, initial- and 3rd-occasion house damage, and bodily harm statements, Catlin stated.

In this new situation, Barnes is tasked with offering authorized information to diverse county departments, and also attends commission conferences to reply issues from elected officials and supply other suggestions or enter.

The using the services of is “long overdue,” Catlin mentioned, and he and others at the county are fired up to perform with Barnes.

In 2019, Kalamazoo County commissioners unanimously voted to fire Elizabeth White, who was their company counsel. In the interim, the county has been represented by an outside the house legislation firm, which implies diverse lawyers would perform together as a workforce to enable represent the county and give lawful expert services.

Catlin claimed the choosing a replacement for White was a precedence for him as he started out his situation as administrator earlier this year.

On Nov. 6, 2019, commissioners declined to say why they fired White. However, White filed a federal lawsuit that Nov. 13, alleging violations of the Whistleblower’s Protection Act, wrongful discharge, breach of deal and violations of the Open Meetings Act. The county mentioned the lawsuit had “no merit.” But right after a yearlong negotiation, White settled for $300,000, in accordance to a court docket doc

Barnes has a assortment of specialist experience in the community and personal sectors, Catlin mentioned.

Catlin mentioned Barnes earlier labored for the point out of Minnesota as a statewide director of interior regulate and accountability for the condition. He also mentioned she was the government director of the Minnesota Board of Psychology, and has served as an assistant legal professional common with the condition of Minnesota Business of the Legal professional Basic.

“When they hired me, my objective was to deliver stability to the corporation,” stated Catlin, who was hired in March. “For me, having a proactive and stable lawful counsel is incredibly crucial to the work that we do right here. I consider that employing Angelina, she’ll be capable to supply some steadiness and some competence in how we go after our civil litigation in this article in the county.”

Six people used for the posture, and the board selected a few people today to interview. A person person withdrew their identify for thing to consider, and the board interviewed Barnes and a further candidate, Catlin explained.

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