City attorney’s ‘interim’ title lifted

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2007

FRANKLIN—After approximately seven months with no permanent counsel, the City Council elevated H. Taylor Williams IV from interim city attorney to the permanent position.

Williams has been serving with the interim tag since April. He will fill a void that was left when predecessor Bill Donnelly’s contract was not renewed by the city.

According to City Manager Bucky Taylor, a motion was passed at the June 25 Council meeting to hire Williams on a permanent basis. A second motion also was approved to authorize salary negotiations, which will not be brought back to Council until the July 23 meeting. The Council will not meet on July 9.

Williams has 27 years of experience in the general practice of law, including wills and estates, real estate, criminal law and civil law in courts throughout southeast Virginia. He was one of 15 lawyers appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court to serve on the State Bar Disciplinary Board. He completed his term at the end of June after serving for six years.

Williams has been a member of the Franklin/Southampton County Bar Association since 1987 and the Virginia State Bar since 1980.

He recently ran in the Democratic primary against Rick Francis of Boykins for the Clerk of the Circuit Court seat in Southampton County that will be vacated by retiring Wayne Cosby. He lost to Francis by fewer than 100 votes.

In order to take on the position with the city, Williams will have to close his private law practice, located in downtown Franklin.

&uot;I’m sad about closing the office,&uot; he said. &uot;But at the same time, I’m looking forward to new challenges.&uot;

Williams said he has not been taking on new cases and feels confident that the city will work with him on a couple of cases that he cannot completely close out until early fall.

&uot;I’m winding down what I’ve got going on and hoping to begin full-time employment with the city Aug. 15,&uot; he said, &uot;with the understanding that I have a few other matters to wrap up.&uot;

Salary negotiations are still under way and although some proposals have been made, &uot;No contract has been signed at this point,&uot; Williams said.

The city manager said, &uot;This will be a positive thing for that position to be filled so he can [continue] to provide Council answers to questions regarding legal issues.&uot;