CRESTVIEW — Crestview’s new city attorney is its previous city attorney. The City Council agreed to rehire Ben Holley, who previously resigned the position in March 2012 after 30 years.
Holley will replace Jerry Miller after the council chose not to transfer to Miller the contract with the city held by the firm with which he previously practiced.
Miller has held the post since June 2012 and chose not to submit an application, feeling the council’s decision to seek other attorneys’ qualifications was a snub against his service to the city. Holley resigned for similar reasons.
In the 3-1 decision to hire Holley, Councilman Bill Cox cast the dissenting vote, saying Councilman JB Whitten’s original motion to hire a team of Holley and fellow applicant Jonathon Holloway was “preposterous.”
Some councilmen were concerned that Holley, as a one-man law practice, wouldn’t have a back-up should he be unavailable. Whitten said Holley and Holloway agreed to partner, with Holley being appointed city attorney and mentoring Holloway, who currently serves as the North Okaloosa Fire District’s attorney.
“Mr. Holloway, you want to make him a secondary attorney-in-training?” Cox asked. “That makes no sense.”
Cox also expressed concern that the four applicants’ fees were all more than Miller currently charges, and that Holloway’s “municipal experience is in suing municipalities.”
Whitten revised his motion to refer solely to Holley for the city attorney position without mentioning Holloway. Miller’s contract as city attorney expires Sept. 28.
Councilman Bill Cox expressed concern that newly reappointed city attorney Ben Holley will charge more than outgoing attorney Jerry Miller. Here’s how their fees compare:
Service Miller Holley
Retainer $175/hour $3,500/month
Public finance issues .4 percent* .1 percent*
Litigation $225** $175/hour**
*Such as loans and bonds; fee is a percentage of total amount
**Fees do not include court costs
Source: Crestview City Clerk’s office
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Ben Holley's public finance issues fees are 1 percent. In fact, they are .1 percent. We regret the error.