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Lower Burrell’s former solicitor questions city’s savings with new firm |
Valley News Dispatch

Lower Burrell’s former solicitor questions city’s savings with new firm

Mary Ann Thomas
Lower Burrell’s City Hall

Lower Burrell’s new solicitor appears to be charging about half as much as the city’s former solicitor, but the former solicitor questions whether the city will wind up paying half as much.

City council voted this month to part ways with its longtime solicitor, Stephen Yakopec Jr. It then hired the Sewickley firm of Cafardi, Ferguson, Wyrick, Weis and Stotler as its new solicitor, with John Rushford serving as Lower Burrell’s primary attorney.

The deal with the new solicitor includes a $900 monthly retainer that covers all routine business and meetings, along with an hourly rate of $145 for additional services, according to Mayor Richard Callender.

Callender said Yakopec charged a monthly retainer of $1,752 and an hourly rate of $125, though Yakopec claimed his hourly rate was $115.

“We’ll see what that firm actually charges as they go through the year,” Yakopec said, regarding the new solicitor’s rates.

Yakopec claimed his retainer was based on two meetings a month, while Rushford will be covering one.

And Yakopec added that because he’s a city resident, the school district, city and county “got some of that money back through taxes.”

“I’m thankful to have helped the city and residents for the past quarter-century and more,” he said.

City Councilman Robert Hamilton said he believes that “apples to apples, we are getting more from this new solicitor for less money.”

Callender and other council members have declined to discuss why they did not renew Yakopec’s contract.

Councilman Joseph Grillo, who supported keeping Yakopec on as solicitor, did not attend council’s most recent meeting Monday.

John Rushford and his firm were among five firms interviewed by Callender, Hamilton, Councilman Chris Koziarski and City Manager Amy Rockwell for the solicitor’s post.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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