Stacy Council approves new contract for legal services with Eagan firm

The Stacy City Council met Feb. 15, a Wednesday, due to the timing of a special election held Feb. 14.
The most significant change resulting from the meeting was the replacement of the city attorney. The council voted to approve a contract for legal services with the Campbell Knutson firm of Eagan. Campbell Knutson specializes in providing legal advising and representation for municipalities, banks and businesses.
The firm of Grundhoefer and Alliegro had represented the city’s interests for more than 15 years. The council has considered a replacement since shortly after the death of longtime city attorney Peter Grundhoefer in 2015 and had struggled with a decision on whether to engage a new firm. A request for proposals for legal services was published in December; the council met in January and made the decision to interview other firms.
Of major importance will be the fact that the new city attorney contract firm of Campbell Knutson will have to start completely over with any city business, as the departing firm of Grundhoefer and Alliegro is not required to turn over any of its records to the replacement firm. The majority of the council members liked the fact that Campbell Knutson will bill hourly rather than under contracted rates and that the firm represents other municipalities of similar size.
The council discussed the pros and cons of making the change for some time but had hesitated over having to start over and also the fact that the city’s relationship with Grundhoefer and Alliegro had been cordial and longstanding.
“There’s issues that have to be discussed,” Council Member Chuck Lucia said. “You can’t just one come in and know what’s going on.” Mayor Mark Utecht insisted that the new firm would be able to work with Grundhoefer and Alliegro on a transfer of files.
“The new firm is going to have to tell us how it should go,” Utecht said.
Council Member Mark Ness was interested in contracting with a larger firm. Ness felt the varied areas of expertise at Campbell Knutson would better serve the city. Upon taking a vote, the council approved the contract with Campbell Knutson, with Lucia voting no. The new city attorneys will take over this month.

In other news
• Stacy resident Marie Noie has been recruited by City Clerk Sharon Payne to serve on the Stacy Planning Commission and was appointed to serve at the Feb. 15 council meeting.
• The water treatment facility project is moving forward, benefiting from mild winter weather. “I think everything’s going OK,” City Clerk Sharon Payne said, complimenting the construction firm on the ease she has had in working with them. The council then approved pay request No. 5 for Magney Construction in the amount of $86,076. The city has expended $540,581 thus far for the overall $2.16 million project.
•As a result of two special meetings in January, the council approved the termination of two liquor operations employees, Kathryn Schultz and Jessica Anderson. The council upheld the claims of liquor operations manager Rod Olson charging that both employees were insubordinate and the city had a right to terminate as an “at-will” employer.
• Xcel Energy has provided notice to the city of Stacy concerning the installation of LED street lighting. There will be no upfront charge to customers and Xcel advised the savings to the municipality could be between 4-7 percent.
•The council heard mention of an oft-talked-about subject: Royal Concrete Pipe. The city was recently notified that the company, known as Royal Enterprises America, has been sold to Forterra, headquartered in Irving, Texas.

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