The Sealy City Council hired Houston native Tim Kirwin last month to serve as the city attorney.
The city previously contracted with Lora Lenzch. Some municipalities opt to have a city attorney who is a full-time employee; Sealy does it on a contractual basis where the lawyer bills hourly to review documents and negotiate deals. Kirwin also has represented Missouri City, Fulshear, Surfside, Brazos Country, Hardin and others. He also serves as a prosecutor and municipal court judge in some Houston-area cities.
City Manager Lloyd Merrell said during an Aug. 28 meeting that resumes and billing information were submitted by three law firms.
Kirwin, who has had a private law firm for 12 years, previously worked with Sealy on amendments to its Economic Development Corp. bylaws.
In response to a question from Councilwoman Dee Anne Lerma, Kirwin said he declined to continue representing Prairie View in order to free up more time to work with Sealy.
“My concern is that you would be spread a little too thin by taking on an additional city,” Lerma said.
Mayor Janice Whitehead pointed out that in the past few years, Sealy has had to hire a human resources attorney to handle specialized matters.
“Generally HR issues I’m completely comfortable with,” Kirwin said, explaining that he wrote Fulshear’s personnel manual.
Occasionally there is a need to bring in an HR specialist, Kirwin said, and in those cases, he does not charge for his time but rather the billable hours are paid directly to the specialist so the city is not double billed.
“It doesn’t happen very often, but when I do, I only use a specialist that will match my rate,” Kirwin said.
The motion to appoint Kirwin as city attorney was made by Councilwoman Jennifer Sullivan and seconded by Councilman Chris Noack. It was unanimously approved, effective Sept. 1.