The city is once again wasting money that we would not.
A recent Times article explained that the city has hired an out of town law firm for services related to “normal legal acquisition of real estate and for the negotiation of any contracts for necessary properties” for the future performing arts center.
The firm has been given a budget of up to $1.8 million for the services.
According to the article the firm was involved in the purchase of 18 properties and thus far the city has paid them one million dollars. That comes to over $55 thousand per property.
It doesn’t look like they did that good of a job either. According to the Times:
The fair market value of the properties set by appraisers hired by the city totaled about $9 million, and the city agreed to pay $11.6 million for them. That’s nearly three times more than the $4.4 million assessed value listed on El Paso Central Appraisal District records.
In addition to the high costs we have to question whether there are no lawyers in El Paso who could have done this work.
We deserve better
Or, why lawyers performing this kind of work should be paid so damn much! When you buy a home, the lawyers’ fees are in the hundreds, aren’t they?
I really question the City’s even having a legal department, when it appears most everything is ‘farmed out’ to a law firm outside. Are the City lawyers that inefficent? Or is it a case of CYA? (If we farm it out, nobody can come back and sue us for what happens!)
City is always trying to attract out of town businesses to come here, but when we’ve got important work worth millions to be done we don’t give our own talented workforce (e.g. local law firms) the jobs. Funny business, as usual.
The goto response for this town has been always to seek out-of-town professionals for specialized work, whether accounting/auditing, construction, engineering, financial, or legal. We want our children to get the best education and then plead for them to return. But, when the city or county require such services, they always bring in “outside specialists” to come here at quadruple the cost and sometimes with disdainful attitudes towards the coty and its people/culture. Many times the “specialists” are less experienced snarks—young tools climbing their corporate ladder.
It is good to be an ‘out of town lawyer’…