ROSAMOND — The Ro­sa­mond Community Ser­vices District governing board, with three new mem­bers elected in No­vem­ber, terminated the ser­vices of the district legal counsel during a spe­cial closed session meet­ing on Jan. 4 and hired anoth­er firm to serve as in­ter­im coun­sel while seek­ing a more permanent re­place­ment.

The board voted unan­im­ously to relieve the New­port Beach firm of Strad­ling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, effective im­me­di­ately, and bring on the Bakersfield law firm of Klein DeNatale Goldner.

“The board just wanted to go in a different dir­ec­tion,” Board President Greg Wood said. “It was the board’s collective de­cis­ion during (the law firm’s) evaluation.”  

Wood said they felt it was time to bring in a “fresh set of eyes” and a new perspective, not that the firm had done anything wrong.

Stradling Yocca Carl­son & Rauth, which also serves as the city at­tor­ney for Lancaster, was hired in 2014 during anoth­er turnover of the board majority, when Ed Mac­Kay, Olaf Landsgaard and Dennis Shingledecker were elected. In one of their first acts in office, the board voted 4-1 to release the previous law firm and hire Stradling.

All three of those directors are no longer on the board — Landsgaard and Shingledecker did not run and MacKay was not re-elected — but two of the directors ousted four years ago won election this time: Wood and Rick Webb.

The Bakersfield firm was chosen as interim counsel because “they came across as a very prestigious and respectable law firm,” Wood said, with experience in the many areas of the law affecting the district’s oper­ations, including con­tract, labor, water and spe­cial districts.

“They’re well-versed in all the issues facing a pub­lic agency,” he said.

An ad hoc committee of Wood and Director Byron Glennan will lead the search for a more per­man­ent legal counsel. A request for proposals is being pre­pared to seek potential firms. The interim firm of Klein DeNatale Goldner will also be able to submit a proposal for the contract.

“We’re not in any hurry to move to fill that po­si­tion,” Wood said.

In addition to applicable ex­perience, the board will also be looking to keep legal costs down, he said.

An attorney from Klein DeNatale Goldner will be advising the board at its next regular meeting on Jan. 15.

The board also will be considering changing the schedule for its regular board meetings, moving from the first and third Tues­days of each month to the second and fourth Wed­nes­days. This would revert the schedule to where it had been prior to 2015, when the previous board changed it despite public opposition.

“We’re hoping that this change will bring more of the public to meetings, more transparency,” Wood said, and avoid conflicts with other agencies’ meet­ings.

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