Growing Legal Demands Necessitate In-house Council
Heber City, Utah – Heber City Council has negotiated an employment agreement with Mark Smedley to serve as the city’s full-time, in-house legal counsel, beginning June 3, 2019. Smedley has been the acting part-time city attorney since 2002, addressing city legal matters, including criminal matters in the Heber City Justice Court, for 17 years.
In response to concerns raised by the city manager in fall 2018, Mayor Kelleen Potter and City Council determined that the previous part-time arrangement with Smedley was not adequately meeting Heber City’s growing legal demands. These demands include a growing city, significant land use pressures, legal dealings with developers, the increased use of city contracts for professional services and an overall greater legal exposure for the city.
In considering the alternatives for general legal counsel services, City Council evaluated the pros and cons of contracting with an individual or firm, or employing a full-time, in-house city attorney.
Ultimately, the council determined that it would be in the city’s best interest strategically and financially to contract with one individual as the city’s in-house city attorney, where the city is the sole client and only priority.
The advantages of hiring a full-time, in-house city attorney include greater certainty of annual legal costs, improved responsiveness due to exclusivity, enhanced availability to City Council and staff, and a more proactive role in anticipating, evaluating and addressing legal risks and challenges.
Smedley received a B.A. from the University of Utah, earned a J.D. from the University of Utah School of Law and has established long-term relationships with the Utah Municipal Attorney’s Association and the Utah Prosecutor’s Association. His impressive background in both private practice and public service gives Smedley the ability to understand the needs of both the city and the community, and allows him to observe, balance and assist in the handling of Heber City’s comprehensive legal matters.
In his 26 years as both a prosecutor and city attorney, Smedley has gained extensive knowledge of Heber City, its current legal matters and the Heber City community in general. His experience in both the private sector and municipal arena is vital to representing Heber City during this period of unprecedented growth and change.