In a letter to the town, dated March 20, Paonia town attorney David Marek announced that he is stepping down. Marek gave 30 days' notice per his contract. His last day on the job will be April 28.
"At the first of the year I decided that I wanted to work part-time this year in anticipation of retiring in the near future," wrote Marek. "I find that the time commitment required for the position of Town Attorney will not allow me to work part-time."
The board wasn't completely caught off guard, said Mayor Charles Stewart. In January Marek was asked by a trustee if he had time for the job. Marek replied yes, "But it's taken a lot more time than I originally anticipated, just because of the number of issues and the way the town has used my services."
Marek began working with the town in January 2014 and was appointed to a two-year term in April 2014. He was reappointed to a two-year term last May. Marek receives a $1,250 per month retainer, which includes attendance at one board meeting per month and 10 hours of work. Additional hours are billed at $150 per hour.
The 2017 budget allocates a total of $47,500 for legal and engineering services. As of Feb. 28, Marek had received $16,622.65 in compensation from the town.
"David has done a very good job for the town," said Mayor Stewart. "He has been very diligent, very practical, and an asset to the town." With Marek wanting to reduce his hours, and the town increasing his work load, the decision "is very understandable," said Stewart.
Tuesday night's board meeting agenda included consideration by the board for a request for proposals for hiring a new town attorney. If approved, said Stewart, the RFP will be posted this week. While state statute requires that the town have an appointed attorney, as a practical matter, said Stewart, "The town can't afford to be without one for very long." As a result, the RFP could have a short response time.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.