Hingham Selectmen have chosen a new Town Counsel but the vote to appoint wasn’t unanimous.
Two candidates were narrowed as finalists for the position of Hingham’s Town Counsel—John Clifford, an attorney out of East Bridgewater, and John Coughlin, an attorney out of Fall River.
Selectman Irma Lauter voted against appointing Coughlin because she disagreed with the hiring process. “I’m voting “no” on the principle we did not do an RFP and I think this is so critical,” said Lauter
But Selectman Bruce Rabuffo and Selectmen Chair Laura Burns voted in favor of hiring Coughlin, having learned from a process they went through two years ago when a RFP, or request for proposal, for legal services was done by Hingham Selectmen.
According to Burns, the town heard back from five law firms but they ultimately landed with the same law firm and attorney that was already working for Hingham. However, they decided to approach the hiring process differently this time. “Rather than put out an RFP process which gets all the big firms, we put out our feelists through the industry, through the business of municipalities—who do you know, who’s good–and that is how the two candidates that we interviewed came to us,” explained Burns
Instead of having one firm represent all of Hingham’s needs. Selectmen have decided to use multiple counsel for specific issues like land use and employee relations. But Coughlin will be the official Town Counsel for Hingham who will advise the town on municipal law.
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