Update: MCSD Superintendent to give recommendation on school's l - WRBL

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Update: MCSD Superintendent to give recommendation on school's legal counsel

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COLUMBUS, Ga. - Superintendent David Lewis has announced he will give a recommendation about the school's legal counsel at next Tuesday's board meeting.

The Muscogee County School District has been under the microscope for the amount of money it's spent handling legal matters with the current law firm -- Hatcher-Stubbs.

A News 3 investigation revealed the Muscogee County School District spent $700,000 in legal fees in 2012. The school district has exclusively used Hatcher-Stubbs for more than 60 years. Some people have called for an open-bidding process or in-house legal counsel, but members of the school board who support the law firm, say legal counsel cannot just be switched out for another because more than money is at play when choosing good legal representation and there’s a level of comfort with Hatcher-Stubbs.

Lewis told News 3 he used Hanover Research, a company that does analysis of various topics regarding school boards, to assist him with his recommendation. He will present a 20 page report to board members later this week, then present it at next Tuesday's board meeting.

Lewis says the school district's legal representation has created a lot of concern in the community, so he wanted to base his recommendation on analytics.

“I know it's garnered a lot of attention and I committed to the board early on in my tenure here as superintendent I would base my decisions on evaluation, best practices, research, and data,” says Lewis. “Because it was a topic of discussion and concern, I felt like it was important for me to look at that and take that into consideration moving forward.”

Local political consultant Frank Myers has been one of the most vocal critics of the no-bid deal. Myers and state senator Josh McKoon were cleared of any wrong-doing after two school board members called for an investigation, claiming Myers and McKoon over-stepped legal boundaries in their efforts to influence the board to replace Hatcher-Stubbs. Now the future of the district's no-bid deal is unclear and Myers says Lewis has a big decision.

“Mr. Lewis has to opportunity to remove the cloud that's been hanging over the school board for several years and put this lawyer issue to bed,” says Myers. “I'm really impressed with Mr. Lewis and I think a lot of people are, but this is going to be a defining moment for him as we look down the road.”

McKoon says he would be pleasantly surprised if Lewis' recommendation is changing the no-bid deal. Whatever the recommendation is, he says he will introduce a bill that would prohibit no-bid legal deals for boards of educations across the state in the next few weeks during the Georgia legislative session.

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