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Benton Harbor officials vote to renegotiate City Attorney's contract

BENTON HARBOR, Mich – The Benton Harbor City Council approved an effort to renegotiate the contract of the city attorney.

There was a resolution brought forth to terminate the contract of the city attorney but Monday’s vote on a resolution to move forward with renegotiating the city attorney’s contract staved off the termination vote. 

The Benton Harbor City Attorney is contracted through St. Joseph Law firm Bittner Jennings. 

The city attorney has done legal work for the city since July 2013 when the city of Benton Harbor was under an Emergency Management agreement with the state. 

Current Benton Harbor city commissioners said during Monday’s meeting that they believe the city attorney is doing a great job, but under a “bad contract.”

Benton Harbor Mayor Pro-tem Duane Seats says the resolution to attempt to renegotiate the city attorney’s contract is best for the city. 

“I would hope that whoever has a contract with the city would be willing or able to renegotiate and come to the table and say I need to do what’s best for the city” Mayor Pro-tem Duane Seats said. 

Under the existing contract there is no “sunset” and it automatically renews unless the contract is formally ended or renegotiated. 

Benton Harbor city council members said they believe they will be able to renegotiate the city attorney’s contract, but if they can’t they will come up with a new plan. 

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