As reported in the Suburban Journals West Edition on August 31, 2011
“Harris protested that Barken and Bakewell would charge a monthly retainer of $900 while the retainer for Bruntrager and Billings is $3,000. He also protested that board president Kim Evans failed to recuse (sic) herself from voting, though he said Bruntrager and Billings had represented her in the past”.

 

LEGAL FEES TO TRIPLE!!

 

Board Majority Leader Kim Evans Leads Effort To Hire Her Personal Attorney To Represent The Monarch Fire Protection District To Handle All Legal Business In a 2-1 Vote On August 23, 2011.

 

Average Legal Fees of $50,000 Are Now Expected To More Than Triple To Over $160,000 Per Year!

 

In an unprecedented vote, and despite a call by Director Robin Harris for Director Evans to recues herself from the vote, Directors Kim Evans and Steve Swyers replaced long-time, highly respected attorney Michael Bakewell, with Evan’s own attorney, Charles H. Billings (does the H stand for “High” as in High Billings?).

Here Are the Facts:

  • Bakewell has served the District, with distinction, for more than 20 years.
  • Bakewell’s hourly rate was $75 in 1990, and he chose to maintain that rate in his bid.
  • Bakewell is a featured speaker at the Missouri Association of Fire District events and annually trains fire district attorneys throughout the state in fire district laws, open meeting laws (Sunshine Law) and many other legal topics.
  • Bakewell is so highly respected by his peers at other St. Louis County fire protection districts that the procedures and forms he authored on HIPAA changes were purchased from the Monarch Fire Protection District by six other Districts.
  • Charles H. Billings practices personal injury and criminal law.
  • Charles H. Billings is Kim Evans personal attorney. Want proof…Click on this link!

DO THE MATH:

  1. Mike Bakewell charged the Monarch Fire Protection District $900 per month to attend Board meetings and charged $75 an hour for additional work performed for the District.
  2. Billings will now begin charging the Monarch Fire Protection District $3000 per month to attend Board meetings, PLUS $250 an hour for additional work performed for the District.
  3. Bakewell averaged 500 hours per year for legal work, resulting in annual billing of $48,300.
  4. Billings’ fees for those same 500 hours per year will result in annual billing of approximately $161,000.

The Monarch Fire Protection District went out for bids for legal services and received timely bid submissions from three firms, including Bakewell and Billings. The bid from Bakewell was the lowest BY FAR!

In the August 9, 2011 St. Louis Business Journal, the Missouri State Auditor stated, “if you do not select the lowest bidder, carefully document the reasons for your decision. To avoid any appearance of impropriety, abstain from voting if the vote involves a conflict of interest or a related party.” Doesn’t it almost seem as if he was directly addressing what Swyers and Evans did in selecting Billings over Bakewell?

Ignoring the lowest bid and instead choosing Kim Evans’ personal attorney, Swyers and Evans have cost us taxpayers over $100,000 in unnecessary legal fees.

 

THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!

 

LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

 

Board President Kim Evans kevans_monarchfpd@yahoo.com

Director Steven Swyers Steve.Swyers@us.pwc.com