On Thursday, the Cloverdale Town Council voted 3-2 in favor of selecting Allan Yackey as town attorney for the 2007 calendar year.
Greencastle attorney Scott Hoff represented the town for 2006, but announced he was stepping down earlier this month.
There was, however, added controversy to the Yackey selection.
Council member Judy Whitaker said she was against selecting Yackey, specifically because he currently represents council president Don Sublett in a lawsuit brought against him by Whitaker and council member John Davis.
Whitaker said she felt there was a conflict of interest in acquiring Yackey's services for the town because he represented Sublett.
But council vice president Dennis Padgett pointed out a 21-minute discussion Whitaker had with board members at its regular December meeting where she defended the owners of the Ice Box, a restaurant in Cloverdale that had recently contacted state officials about creating a driveway for access off U.S. 231.
On Thursday, Padgett said he believed Whitaker's discussion at that meeting was a conflict of interest because of her relationship with the owners.
On Thursday, town clerk/treasurer Patti Truax presented a list of seven candidates who had sent in resumes to the board. Truax said she had been in contact with representatives from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT), who gave her a list of attorneys affiliated with the organization.
She also said she learned from IACT that most towns in the state were going to an hourly rate with attorneys rather than the standard retainer fee. Truax said officials with IACT told her that most towns had said going to an hourly rate with attorneys was better for town budgets.
Truax had talked to some of the attorneys and received strong recommendation for Terre Haute attorney Richard Shagley and Indianapolis-based attorney Charles Braun.
Padgett asked Truax about Greencastle attorney Mindi Jackman, but Whitaker said she believed Jackman's main practice was in family law, while the others on the list Truax provided practiced municipal law. Whitaker also asked Truax if Jackman was on the IACT list, to which Truax responded no.
"We're all like a family down here, aren't we Judy," Padgett asked.
"It's a family," Whitaker said.
After mulling through the pile of resumes, Padgett motioned to accept Yackey as town attorney.
"We've got several good ones, it's going to be hard to choose one," Padgett said.
"They are all highly qualified," Sublett added.
But Whitaker expressed concern, saying that Yackey was not only asking for a $7,000 retainer fee, but that he would also be paid hourly.
Still, Sublett said Hoff had informed him that it would be best for the town to pay a retainer fee.
Whitaker then asked Truax if Yackey was on the IACT list, to which Truax said no.
But Padgett said he felt Yackey was the best fit for Cloverdale.
"I liked his presentation," Padgett said.
"What presentation," Davis asked.
The conflict of interest discussion then began, but Padgett said he still believed Yackey was the best fit.
"I think (Yackey) would know if there was a conflict of interest," Padgett said.
"I have not talked to (Yackey)," Whitaker said.
"He's in the phone book. Did you do your homework," Padgett said.
After more discussion, Sublett asked for a second to Padgett's motion.
"That's your cue, Glenn," Whitaker said, point to council member Glenn Vickroy.
Vickroy seconded the motion as Whitaker snapped her fingers.
The board voted 3-2 in favor of Yackey, with Whitaker and Davis both voting no.
Following the vote, audience members began clapping as Sublett asked them to stop.
After the meeting was concluded, Davis got into a verbal exchange with Cloverdale resident John Setty.