New Fargo city attorney, law firm selected
Longtime assistant Nancy Morris to take over as main city lawyer
FARGO — With longtime assistant Nancy Morris as the new primary city attorney, the Serkland Law Firm has been selected to represent the city for five years in civil and prosecution matters.
The decision was approved on Monday night, Nov. 29, by the Fargo City Commission on a unanimous vote.
Serkland, which provided one of two proposals for the contract, said it intends to approach representing Fargo as a team, although Morris would be the main provider of legal services and sit with the City Commission at meetings.
She has been the assistant for the past 10 years working with City Attorney Erik Johnson, who held the top position for the 14 years but has worked on city matters for 35 years.
Johnson announced this fall that he would be stepping down, although he will continue to practice law at his firm and also serve as an assistant city attorney advising Serkland on matters.
Morris has represented the city in diverse matters, including advising regularly on ordinance drafting, contract negotiations, pubic works projects, employment matters, open records, public bidding law and real estate matters and acquisitions.
Morris had previously worked as a senior law clerk in the federal court system in both criminal and civil matters.
Also continuing in their duties under the Serkland contract are assistant city attorney and chief city prosecutor William Wisher and prosecutor and assistant city attorney Alissa Farol.
Also part of the team will be Ian McLean, who will oversee the prosecuting team and serve as managing prosecutor, Kasey McNary and Jim Maring.
President of the Serkland firm, Jane Dynes, will also be available to work on city matters if needed.
Dynes told the City Commission Monday night that by retaining several of the current assistant city attorneys that it would provide a "continuity of service and a smooth transition." She also introduced the remainder of the team.
The Serkland fee will be $325,000 for fixed costs and a retainer of another $337,500 for an estimated 50 hours a week for prosecution services.
There could be extra charges for appeals or any online research charges.
The only other proposal was from the Solberg Stewart Miller firm, which became the city attorneys for Fargo in 1970 and represented the city for 37 years until Johnson started his own firm and the city contracted with him in 2007. They bid $340,000 for prosecution services.