GULFPORT — After months of wrangling over whether to hire a full- or part-time city attorney, City Council members stumbled on a solution.
It was right in front of their eyes.
The council decided to hire Andrew Salzman, who had been brought in on an interim basis as the panel made its decision.
The council was impressed by the job being done by Salzman, of the Palm Harbor firm Zimmet, Unice & Salzman.
Salzman was hired on a temporary basis after the city abruptly found itself without an attorney in October, when interim city attorney Thomas Minkoff was appointed to the 6th Judicial Circuit Court.
When efforts to find a full-time attorney broke down, City Manager Jim O'Reilly and the council looked at options.
According to figures compiled by O'Reilly, a full-time attorney would have cost the city $108,000 a year; a part-time attorney with a retainer would have cost the city $94,500 a year; and Salzman, being paid $150 an hour, has cost the city $3,732 a month, making him the least expensive option. He will continue working for the city in that capacity.
Mayor Mike Yakes said he feels confident about the decision because the council has had a chance to see Salzman on the job.
"What an audition," Yakes said. "He has done a good job. Everyone rated him high."
Salzman, who also serves as Redington Beach's attorney, said, "Our firm has a lot of experience in all aspects of municipal government. We bring a lot more to the table than other firms bring."
He said there are no really hot issues in the city right now. He is working with the council on updating policies and procedures and looking at codes that might need to be updated.
Salzman lives in East Lake with his wife, also a lawyer, and two children.