North Tahoe PUD will pay new legal counsel $210 an hour | SierraSun.com

North Tahoe PUD will pay new legal counsel $210 an hour

Margaret Moran
mmoran@sierrasun.com

Josh Nelson

KINGS BEACH, Calif. — After 40 years with the same legal counsel, the North Tahoe Public Utility District has a new lead attorney.

During a special Monday meeting, the NTPUD board of directors voted 4-0 to approve hiring Best Best & Krieger LLP, with associate Josh Nelson to serve as the district's general counsel.

Director Tim Ferrell was absent.

Based out of BB&K's Sacramento office, Nelson serves as general counsel for Alpine Springs County Water District, Tahoe Resource Conservation District, Beckwourth Fire District and Plumas-Eureka Community Services District.

In addition, Nelson has experience assisting public agencies with code enforcement, telecommunications, solid waste, fee and assessment levying regulations and general utilities issues, according to BB&K.

Nelson earned his law degree from University of California, Davis, and is licensed to practice in California and Nevada.

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The NTPUD will pay Nelson $210 an hour, said district interim general manager/CEO Duane Whitelaw.

He beat out three other finalists — Steven Gross, with Porter Simon; Leslie Walker, with Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard; and Sean DeBurgh, with Cota Cole LLP.

"I think it was just the combination of experience, depth within (BB&K)," said Whitelaw, explaining the board's hiring selection. "… (Also) I think the board was looking at who they felt comfortable with, who they could trust for (this) important advice."

The district received seven proposals after soliciting applications in May. A committee made up of NTPUD board members Sue Daniels and Ferrell narrowed the pool to four finalists in mid-June, with the full board interviewing each.

In December 2014, the board unanimously voted to recruit a new general counsel, a positions held by Neil Eskind since July 1975.

The decision was based on the board's desire for a fresh legal perspective, according to past reports.

"The district is extremely grateful to him for the many, many years of work," Whitelaw said. "We have all enjoyed a great working relationship with him, and he has done many, many positive things for North Tahoe PUD."

Eskind is working on tying up a few loose ends in anticipation of his departure. So, too, is Andrew Morris, who the district hired as temporary general counsel in March to ease Eskind's workload.

Nelson will start his position on July 14 — the next regular NTPUD board meeting — or soon after, Whitelaw said.

A contract with Nelson to serve as general counsel still needs to be executed and signed. It's a process expected to get under way this week.