City to pay more than $1.1 million in legal services in 2019

Nov 28, 2018
City Attorney Jeff Taraday

The City of Edmonds has approved a one-year extension for legal services provided by the Lighthouse Law Group. The group’s Jeff Taraday is Edmonds’ city attorney.

The Lighthouse contract is for a one-year renewal with a flat monthly fee of $47,964; this rate reflects a four percent increase over 2018.

That rate comes to $575,568 for a year. In 2016, the City paid $511,680 to the Lighthouse Law Group. The flat monthly fee covers the entire Lighthouse team and all litigation it handles, Taraday said.

The agreement is nonexclusive, which mean the City can contract for other legal services as well.

In August, City Council also approved one-year contract extension for Zachor Thomas, the city’s longtime prosecuting attorney. The contract for 2019 is for a $23,870.10 monthly retainer, a 7.5 percent increase from 2018. That’s $286K a year.

Councilmember Diane Buckshnis has questioned the prosecuting attorney’s 7.5 percent increase.

According to Finance Director Scott James, the increase was the prosecuting attorney’s request, and there is no opportunity to bargain it. The reason for the increase, James said, is that the office is working more hours.

In addition, the City agreed to a one-year contract with the Snohomish County Public Defense Association for $26,265.70 a month, or $315K a year. It’s also a 7.5 percent increase from 2018.

In total, the City will spend about $1.177 million in legal fees in 2019.


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