Aragon council approves new attorney hire

Aragon City Council members gathered for their work session on June 20.

As Aragon bids farewell to long-time city attorney Zachary Burkhalter, they welcome Frank Beacham in his place.

The Brinson, Askew and Berry attorney out of Rome is a partner in the law firm with long experience within the legal system including a stint as a clerk for the Honorable Harold L. Murphy, United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Beacham was given unanimous approval from the city council during their recent regular session following Burkhalter's departure. This marks the third attorney the council has employed since 2014. Previously, Vickey Atkins held the post of city attorney.

It should be noted that, while neither Beacham nor Burkhalter were present, Mayor Garry Baldwin and the council members did have supervision from a guest attorney during the June 20 meeting to ensure legal ethicality.

As Aragon's new attorney, Beacham will be responsible for providing legal consultation, aiding with contract interpretation, handling employment claims litigation, working with real-estate transactions and developments, handling business transactions, and dealing with certain other litigation matters.

He may be new to Aragon, but he has a long history of working with municipalities.

During 18 years of practicing law in Georgia, he spent eight of those years as Rome's Assistant City Attorney. He's currently in his fourth year in the same post for the City of Cave Spring, and he has recently taken up new duties for the City of Plainville's legal representative.

Beacham received his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1985 and his J.D., Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2001, where he served on the Georgia Law Review, was a recipient of the Sigmund Cohn Scholarship, and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

Numerous other achievements lined his proposal — enough to have won the favor of the council. The group offered little comment and seemed confident in their pick.

Though, with a new attorney, new fees naturally follow.

Beacham's firm does not require an annual retainer and they don't 'block bill' or provide 'flat-rate' billing.

Instead, Aragon will be billed by the hour, in one-tenth of an hour increments, for what makes up monthly statements based on the work and services actually performed. Beacham, alongside the other four proposed attorneys, come at rates of $170 per hour.

Those interested in more details about Beacham and the firm can find more information by visiting https://www.brinsonaskew.com/.

Aragon did spend some funds on a new smoke detector and a new smart-sign for aid in police endeavors.

While the June 20 agenda had numerous other items, the approval of the annual pay raise, the approval of Zoning Ordinance changes, the approval of a new police applicant, and approval of many of the sealed bids were all tabled.

The group still plans to tackle the issues, but voting will come after a few more rounds of discussion.

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