Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

Four applicants vying for Hillsborough County attorney's job

TAMPA — Three finalists for Hillsborough's vacant county attorney position have experience in local government, and a fourth has handled high-profile cases in Palm Beach County.

An executive search firm submitted the finalists to commissioners Friday. County Commission Chairman Ken Hagan has scheduled a discussion among board members Wednesday about how to proceed.

Hagan said he'll recommend that commissioners individually interview the candidates, then rank or recommend a top choice. The board is seeking to replace Renee Lee, who was dismissed last year amid allegations that she blessed a stealth raise for herself and engaged in email snooping. The finalists are:

• Charles "Chip" Fletcher, the Tampa city attorney from 2008 to 2011 under then-Mayor Pam Iorio. He now works for the Gray Robinson law firm. He previously was a partner in the Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick firm and a shareholder with de la Parte & Gilbert.

"It would be an honor to serve this commission and I would welcome the opportunity to be back in public service," he said.

• Jim Porter, who was chief assistant Hillsborough County attorney from 1990 to 2004. He left to become a partner with Ruden McClosky. In 2010, he and other attorneys left that firm and formed the Tampa office of Adams and Reese, where Porter is a partner. He has focused on land-use law throughout.

"I've always loved local government," he said. "It seems like a good time with this board and this administration to take a shot at (returning)."

• Joseph Patner, who has been head of civil litigation for the city of St. Petersburg since 2005. Among his accomplishments, he lists successfully defending the city against lawsuits brought by the Tampa Bay Times and the Tampa Tribune involving panhandling and street solicitation. He has been particularly involved with issues relating to the homeless and has been a senior trial attorney for Allstate and a prosecutor.

"I'm humbly honored to be considered as a finalist," he said.

• Andrew J. McMahon, chief assistant county attorney for the litigation section of the Palm Beach County attorney's office. He has worked there since 1996, handling state and federal litigation during the 2000 presidential recount and lawsuits about the proposed location of the Scripps Research Institute. He also has private practice experience.

"Although I clearly am an outsider, I believe my experience will prove valuable," he wrote in a cover letter.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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