Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

July 11, 2012

Attorney, supervisors agree to reduce charge

By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Monday morning the Appanoose County Board of Supervisors Chairman Dean Kaster and Jody McDanel during a special meeting voted 2-0 to pay Davis County attorney Rick Lynch $9,560, nearly $7,000 less than he had originally billed for his law firm's services.

Appanoose County Supervisor Linda Rouse was not present.

The Supervisors had originally agreed June 11 to pay Lynch's law firm $16,427.50 for his and an assistant's time and mileage for their work covering for Appanoose County attorney Richard Scott while his law license was temporarily suspended by the Iowa Supreme Court.

Lynch requested the special meeting with the supervisors because he sensed Appanoose County officials were not happy with the amount of the first bill and he wanted to find a resolution everybody could be happy with.

"I didn't feel good about it," Lynch said. "Let's start over with the bill. I knew it wasn't right. And I don't want to leave Appanoose County with a bad taste, period."

Kaster threw out $9,560 as a new number, something he said was more agreeable to him, for the time the Lynch Law Firm billed the county.

"I agree to the $9,560," Lynch said. "I'm fine with that."

Appanoose County Auditor Linda Demry said the lower figure was more in line and she could live with it.

"My concern was you were billing us private practice rates and not county attorney rates," she said to Lynch during the special meeting. "You weren't hired as a private practice. You were hired as a county attorney."

Lynch said he didn't feel like he was hired for anything, because a judge appointed him to do the duties.

Kaster said he felt like they were forced to pay the higher bill despite not agreeing with it.

McDanel said he nearly fell over when he saw the first bill. He said he felt they were forced into paying the higher bill.

Lynch said he had no idea he was going to have to spend as much time in Appanoose County as he had too. He acknowledged Appanoose County has a higher population than Davis County and a greater degree of criminal activity.

Demry said the money will come out of Scott's 2013 fiscal year budget for part-time help.

Scott's law license was temporarily suspended by the Iowa Supreme Court May 2. The suspension was requested by the state's attorney disciplinary board.

The court reinstated Scott's law license May 30, with conditions. One calls for Lynch to give a report of Scott's performance and status of cases by the end of August to the court.