Who doesn’t relish that feeling when you find a great bargain? But when you need the professional services of an experienced skilled professional, say a brain surgeon, that’s hardly the time to go bargain hunting. When either a health problem or serious financial consequences could cost you dearly, prudence says, look before you leap.
That’s what responsible elected officials must consider when hiring legal counsel to defend township taxpayers against frivolous lawsuits or cases that could cost residents huge settlements in court and that may last for months or even years. Forks is fortunate to have retained a Solicitor whose legal representation has already saved Township residents millions by successfully defending against developer lawsuits.
Four of our five Forks Supervisors recently affirmed their faith in attorney Karl Kline’s professionalism and continued representation. In January 2013, based upon a proven record of results, attorney Kline was kept on as Township Solicitor. The fifth Supervisor, Dan Martyak, was a solitary no vote. His rationale was to save money using the Wal-Mart approach of scrounging around the legal community to find the cheapest deal possible. This, too, was Supervisor Martyak’s position in 2012 when he was a newly elected Board Member casting his first vote.
At present Forks Township is faced with several on-going litigations and deadlocked Police Department contract talks, both involving the services of the present Solicitor. Mr. Martyak could not convince a single other Board Member to second his motion to replace Mr. Kline with a bargain-basement lawyer. Just as Bill Murray woke up in the movie Groundhog Day always facing the exact same circumstances, Dan Martyak appears to have his own case of Groundhog Day Syndrome. He hasn’t yet recognized the importance of continuity in legal representation when it really counts and when it’s staring him in the face.
Some people know the price of everything and the value of nothing, they say. By professing to save a few bucks on legal fees, Supervisor Martyak would risk replacing a Solicitor who has a highly successful proven record with some unknown quantity at a time when Forks residents can ill afford gambling on court cases.
Groundhog Day Martyak showed his ignorance last year, but a full year later there is no excuse to propose playing legal Roulette again. The only ones to benefit from Supervisor Martyak’s slow learning curve would be any developers who’ll put profits first before what benefits the whole community. Fortunately there are four other Supervisors who voted for fiscal sanity. We thank them for putting Community First.
Lilly Gioia and C. David Howell, Editors
Community First Blog