Front Royal will hire a firm to find a new municipal prosecutor | Everyday

Front Royal City Council plans to pay a private search firm $24,500 to find a new government prosecutor.

City Attorney Douglas Napier retired in December after decades of providing legal advice to local governments. Front Royal announced in a Jan. 10 press release that council members plan to appoint James Cornwell Jr. as acting city attorney. The board plans to act on the nomination at its meeting on Monday.

Cornwell, of White Stone, a small town over 160 miles southeast of Front Royal, also has decades of experience providing legal services to localities. Meanwhile, George Sonnett continues to be Front Royal’s assistant prosecutor.

Vice Mayor Lori A. Cockrell and Council Members Gary L. Gillispie, E. Scott Lloyd, Joseph E. McFadden, Amber F. Morris and Letasha T. Thompson attended a special business session on Thursday where they discussed the issue. Mayor Christopher W. Holloway did not attend the business meeting.

Board members intend to vote at their Monday meeting to award a contract to Baker Tilly US LLC for executive search services for city attorney positions.

Council members discussed the contract during a special working session on Thursday. Chief Financial Officer BJ Wilson said the same firm helped the council find City Manager Steven Hicks, whom members appointed in November 2020. Baker Tilly US is an accounting and consulting firm based in Chicago.

McFadden said he and other members liked the contract because he would remain active even if the person hired by the city quit soon after he was recruited. The city wouldn’t need to pay the company again to conduct a new search, McFadden said. Cockrell specified that this contract would last up to 12 months. The contract for the city manager’s search lasted two years, Cockrell said.

Gillispie asked why the city hasn’t solicited bids from other search firms. The contract is cooperative with another jurisdiction that has announced offers for the service, Wilson said. Front Royal is “reliant” on the contract with Loudoun County Public Schools, Wilson said.

The city did not include the $24,500 in the current budget approved last spring, Wilson said. He explained, in response to a question from Cockrell, that the city planned to cover costs using budget money that had not been spent by not filling vacancies. The city does not need to use funds from budget reserves, Wilson said.

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