Bee Cave City Council decided to re-examine its legal services, which for the last 16 years have been overseen by City Attorney Patty Akers.
The official motion came during the Jan. 8 City Council meeting and directs city staff to go out for requests for proposals and qualifications for city attorney services. The primary reason for the request, as stated by members of the council, centers on the fact that a request for proposals and qualifications has not been conducted throughout Akers’ stint as city attorney.
Mayor Monty Parker said City Council will evaluate Akers’ performance either by the next meeting, Jan. 22, or the first meeting in February, and then the process to initiate requests for proposals and qualifications will begin.
“It will probably be a 90-day process to get bids in and, although it’s not required, we’ll probably have a smaller group from council appointed to get [the bids]down to a manageable number,” Parker said. “I don’t know how many, but I’m just assuming that we’ll have at least half a dozen and maybe as many as a dozen if I had to guess.”
Parker said Akers signed her current contract through the law firm Akers & Akers LLP in 2009.
The agenda item, introduced by council members Kara King and Jon Cobb, sparked an at-times heated debate during the council meeting. But when combined with public comment, the general consensus leaned toward a request for qualifications being a good idea if done properly.
“You don’t know what you can get until you call and find out who’s going to offer you what,” King said, adding that a three- to four-year window between requests for qualifications and proposals for legal services should suffice for the city of Bee Cave.
The council ultimately passed the motion 4-2, with council member Marie Lowman and Mayor Pro Tem Bill Goodwin voting no.
Lowman requested that Akers first be given a performance review prior to a request for proposals, stating that
it was council’s moral obligation to do so given that the city attorney’s last performance review, scheduled for fall 2018, was canceled.
“I just feel like [a performance review]is feedback that would be incredibly valuable to her to respond to a [request for qualifications],” Lowman said.
Mayor Pro Tem Bill Goodwin offered the strongest objection and asked members of city staff their opinions of Akers’ job performance and said the agenda item was equivalent to an attempt to fire the city attorney. Goodwin also asked Cobb why he introduced the agenda item.
“Patty [Akers] has served for 16 years, as I understand, and to the best of my knowledge we’ve never gone out and seen who else is in the market, and I may be wrong about that … but I just think it’s time,” Cobb said.