County hires interim legal counsel

Search for permanent county attorney underway

By Luke Groskopf

Journal Staff Writer

Montezuma County has reached agreements with several area attorneys to provide legal guidance until it hires a permanent replacement for Bob Slough, the longtime county attorney whose contract the county commissioners declined to extend earlier this month.

Slough vacated the position immediately after the commissioners' 2-1 vote, which he said caught him by surprise. Since the county did not start advertising for a replacement until after the vote, it was left without legal counsel in the near-term.

For now, Dolores County Attorney Dennis Golbricht will cover child dependency and neglect cases for Montezuma County Department of Social Services. Meanwhile, Michael Goldman and Jeff Robbins, founding partners at Durango law firm Goldman, Robbins and Nicholson, will handle general legal services such as reviewing land-use ordinances, state statutes, and contracts, for $200 an hour.

County administrator Ashton Harrison said he was confident in their abilities, having represented La Plata and Archuleta counties in the past.

Applications for county attorney will be accepted until Feb. 28. The salary range being advertised - $110,000 to $150,000 - is broad because the county is unsure if social services will be included under the new county attorney's purview, or if they'll fall to a separate person.

"It'll depend if the applicant has a skill-set related to social services and is willing to do it," Harrison said.

Slough performed both functions, a set-up Harrison described as "the exception," not the norm.

"Because this is an important position, the commissioners will take their time reviewing those resumes, looking at references and doing interviews," he added.

lukeg@cortezjournal.com