Board's New Legal Counsel Will Be Paid $325,000 Next Year
Machado Law Group will be paid on a prorated basis until June 30.
The Board of Education has hired a new legal counsel.
The Machado Law Group, LLC will now represent and advise the board regarding all legal matters.
The firm will be paid $150 an hour for the use of counsel and associates and $75 an hour for paralegals until June 30. The total amount paid will be prorated from the maximum permitted amount of $325,000. Superintendent Ray Gonzalez could not provide an estimate on how much the firm would be paid until June 30.
Gonzalez said that the “initial transition costs form the old firm to the new firm” are not considered when calculating the cap. He said the transition costs are unknown at this time.
The firm will be paid a maximum of $325,000 for legal services for the 2012-2013 school year. The appointment will last until the end of that school year.
Schwartz, Simon, Edelstein, and Celso LLC previously represented the board. Nathanya Simon represented the board in court when nine Wayne Hills High School football players filed a lawsuit against the board for their right to play in the state championship game in early December.
“We are in the process of working with both firms to determine what matters are going to be handed off to the new firm and what cases are in progress and will remain with our former counsel,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said the decision to hire a new legal counsel was the board’s, not his, since the person represents the board. Gonzalez did not comment on why the previous firm’s contract was not renewed.
“The administration will work with the firm to address any legal matters involving the district,” Gonzalez said.
The board counsel is one of many professional services that are periodically reviewed for annual reappointments. Others include the district’s architect, auditor, and insurance broker.
Isabelle Machado will be the primary representative from the firm at board meetings.
In addition to representing and advising the board, Machado will represent the district in any litigious matters involving special education.
Board President Donald Pavlak Jr. could not be reached for comment.