Council to finalize City Attorney position Tuesday

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It’s a new year for everyone, and with it, it will also be a new year for Mesquite’s City Attorney’s office as the city council has agendized plans to officially hire current Deputy City Attorney, Robert Sweetin, as the City Attorney at their January 13 meeting.MLN-Attorney1jan8-15

Sweetin arrived in mesquite about two years ago, beginning his work for the city in February 2013. “I worked in Washington, D.C. a while and in California. Many places where there are nothing but conflicts,” he said. “Not in Mesquite… they (the council) are very professional and even though they may disagree on things, they all move on from that. They do what they can to make it work. It’s a good fit here.”

Sweetin is licensed to practice law in Nevada as well as California, and has an educational background from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he earned his J.D. Law degree in 2011. He had previously attended Brigham Young University, obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Business Management in 2008. Needless to say, he is fully equipped to handle the position of City Attorney.

In an effort to reduce spending within the city, Sweetin will also act as the Deputy Attorney and Prosecutor for civil and criminal cases as well, saving the costs of salaries and benefits from those positions and contracting out for specialized prosecutorial positions.

Sweetin agreed it was the right move to compact the two positions stating that “In a city of this size, there isn’t a lot of need to have both of those positions.”

In an email from Mayor Al Litman on December 30, 2014, he confirmed that although there had been no employment agreement set in stone at that time, “we did not go out for any other candidates,” nearly guaranteeing Sweetin as the beneficiary of the legal helm of the city.

The terms outlined in the potential employment agreement seem fairly typical for a position of this standard. The savings that the city will see in the long run will be of some help come budget time in June.

The contract presented will start Mr. Sweetin off with $105,000 salary per year, which is $1,808 less than the previous position paid, with a 5% increase at the 6, 18, and 30 month intervals, with council approvals. With him taking the place of three positions, the city will save over $200,000 immediately. The potential agreement also cites that Sweetin will agree to remain employed with the City of Mesquite for five years, unless he does not receive one of the pay increases mentioned before.

MLN-Attorney2jan8-15The savings the city will see by his fifth year of employment will tentatively reach nearly a half a million dollars in savings, with an additional $87,503 per year thereafter. But that’s just the top of the barrel. The proposed savings summary does notate that these savings are not reflective of additional savings that will be felt in the budget in regards to licensing fees, continuing education courses and other expenses. To view the full contract that has been proposed, go to the city’s website at www.mesquitenv.gov and find the agenda materials for the January 13 meeting.

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