News - April 20, 2011

Atherton council chooses new attorney

by Renee Batti

The City Council has chosen Pebble Beach resident William B. Conners, the former city attorney for Monterey, as Atherton's next city attorney, contingent upon the successful negotiation of a contract.

The council met April 15 in closed session, and voted unanimously to hire Mr. Conners to replace Wynne Furth of the Burke Williams and Sorensen law firm. For the last six years, Mr. Conners has been the sole practitioner in his firm, William B. Conners Municipal Law Consultant, he said last week.

Interim City Manager John Danielson will now work to negotiate a six-month contract with Mr. Conners, with a one-year optional extension, based on an evaluation, City Clerk Theresa DellaSanta said. That contract is scheduled to be brought before the council for final approval at a special council meeting on Wednesday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m., she said.

Mr. Conners was one of three top candidates recommended for the post by a town citizen advisory committee and an ad-hoc committee made up of council members Elizabeth Lewis and Jerry Carlson.

His firm tied with Best, Best & Krieger for first place in the list of recommendations. Burke Williams and Sorensen of Menlo Park ranked No. 3 on the list.

Mr. Conners, who was Monterey's assistant city attorney for 10 years before holding the top attorney's post for that city for about 15 years, said he was able to offer his services to Atherton for a lower cost than competing applicants could.

"I can do the job expertly, but not as expensively as a large firm," he told the Almanac. "I don't have to pay junior attorneys. ... It's much more efficient doing the work myself — it eliminates a whole lot of middle men."

Mr. Conners' daughter, Jennifer Larson, is an attorney specializing in litigation and living in Hillsborough. Not only does that mean he has a place to take shelter after a long council meeting in Atherton, it also provides the opportunity for father and daughter to work as a team as the need arises and she becomes more familiar with municipal law, he said.


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