TUPELO – Sherman Mayor Ben Logan gained Tupelo City Council approval as in-house city attorney Tuesday, although he plans to continue serving for up to six months in his elected position for the neighboring town.
The hiring of Logan, a Tupelo attorney, marks the ends at least 40 years of the city outsourcing its legal services to a law firm.
The new attorney is among the four new faces appointed as part of Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton’s administration. Also new, Bart Aquirre was approved as police chief, Willie Allen will be a municipal judge and Alex Farned will serve as interim parks and recreation director. Current parks and recreation director Don Lewis was approved as chief operations officer.
Interim public works director Chuck Williams was also recently approved by the City Council, filling the vacancy created when Sid Russell recently retired as director.
The firm Mitchell, McNutt & Sams has had the contract for city legal services for 36 of the last 40 years. The firm will continue to assist the city with legal work, up to $60,000 in expenses.
Logan will make $90,000 annually and will serve in the position for a year, giving the City Council time to evaluate changes from a firm to a single attorney. Before moving to Sherman, Logan served as an alderman in Tupelo and ran for mayor in 1993.
In the recent City Council discussions on the current fiscal year budget, changing from a law firm to an in-house attorney turned into the key sticking point for some councilmen.
Of the 15 people Shelton nominated to serve in his administration, only Logan received a vote of opposition.
Councilman Mike Bryan of Ward 6 said before the voted against the Logan that his position represented opposition to the in-house attorney position, not Logan individually.
Logan said he needed time to complete and transition out of projects in Sherman and would resign from his elected position within six months. He’ll also be transitioning out of his private law practice in Tupelo.
Ward 1 Councilman Markel Whittington said Logan mentioned leaving his elected position in Sherman by the end of this year. Whittington said he understood the need to transition from his current roles.
“It’s going to take him probably until the first of the year to get it all balanced,” Whittington said. “I hope he can do it without creating an issue with Tupelo or Sherman.”