Former city attorney gets $75k in severance

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The city of Sherman agreed to pay former City Attorney Brandon Shelby $75,000 as a part of his severance agreement with the city. Shelby left the city attorney position in October after the city moved to change its legal representation.

The city of Sherman paid its former city attorney $75,000 as a part of a severance agreement earlier this year.

As a part of ongoing growth in Sherman, the city will be represented by the law firm Abernathy, Roeder, Boyd & Hullett, P.C. This brought an end to the city's relationship with Brandon Shelby, who previously served as city attorney.

"As we continue to grow as a city, and the complexity of the issues facing the city continue to grow, we believe this firm would be able to provide a wide range of services to us as a one-stop shop," Sherman City Manager Robby Hefton said in October regarding the new representation.

The information regarding Shelby's severance came with the release of documents related to the agreement. 

Following the decision to move forward with new representation, the Herald Democrat filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the city for these documents. The city petitioned the Texas Attorney General for permission to withhold the information, citing Shelby's privacy.

On Dec. 22, the AG's office ruled that the information would be released.

In the seven-page severance document, the city agreed to pay Shelby $75,000 within 10 days of the agreement. In exchange, Shelby waived any requests, grievances appeals and other complaints that he may have had pending with the city. 

He also "acknowledges the end of his employment" with the city as a part of the agreement. This portion appears to have been changed from the initial printing in which it stated that he "agrees to submit his resignation" with the city. Subsequent references to resignation are also removed.

Additionally, references to a loss of employee benefits along with vacation and sick pay. This may be related to Shelby's status as a part-time employee for the city.

The city's decision to move to a new law firm came in part due to the growth the city has seen in recent years, city officials said in October. This growth led to the city seeing increased need for specialty legal services on nuanced topics.

One of the firms that the city regularly turned to for legal advice on these topics was Abernathy, Roeder, Boyd & Hullett. As these needs increased, city officials said it made more sense to bring onboard a firm with experience in these matters.

Under the terms of the contract with the firm, the city will pay an hourly rate ranging from $215 per hour for associates with less than three years experience to $250 an hour for shareholders and directors.

“We believe this will be a cost-neutral decision. Of course, that is highly dependent on how much legal services we need,” Sherman Community and Support Services Manager. Nate Strauch said.