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Board appoints Perkins to be new city attorney

By Bill ShortFlag City Logo

The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously this week to appoint Charles R. Perkins to be the new city attorney.

Board members took the action Monday night during a special called meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Bethany Huffman and seconded by Alderman Hank Hawkins.

Perkins was one of three men interviewed and nominated by the board for the position. The others were Lang Wiseman of the Wiseman Bray law firm in Cordova and Will Wyatt of the Harris Shelton Hanover Walsh firm in Memphis.

During the first round of voting, Perkins received the support of Hawkins and Aldermen Frankie Dakin, Larry Dagen and Chris Ford. Wiseman was supported by Alderman Mike Caruthers and Wyatt by Huffman and Alderman Thomas McGhee.

Then, the board adopted a resolution to make Perkins’ appointment unanimous.

He replaces former city attorney Barbara Lapides, who recently retired from the Hanover Walsh firm.

During an interview at a work session a half hour before the meeting, Perkins told the board members that he has been practicing law for 46 years in Shelby County. A graduate of Union University in Jackson, he is a member of its Foundation Board and has served on its Board of Trustees for nine years.

For the past 15 years, he has served as chairman of the Law Library Commission for Shelby County, which is appointed by the judges of the Circuit and General Sessions courts.

“I’ve represented numerous clients over the years and have done thousands of real estate transactions and condemnation actions,” he noted. “I’ve done defense work and plaintiffs’ work.”

For the past 19 years, Perkins has served as Arlington’s town attorney and was recently hired by Piperton. At one point, he represented Collierville as a lobbyist.

He has served with Kenneth Uselton on the Shelby County Educational Foundation since its inception and was elected to five terms on the county commission.

“I actually represented Millington for about 15 years,” he recalled. “When I left the county commission in 1994, I became a lobbyist for Shelby County for four years, and then I retired from the county.”

Perkins was the “prime lobbyist” for the Tennessee General Assembly’s enactment of Public Chapter 1101. And he said Shelby was the first county in the state to get approval of the Urban Growth Plan under that law.

“I negotiated with every town, including Millington, for the boundary lines and actually drew all those lines personally,” he recalled. “So, I’m pretty familiar with them.”

If he has one “strong point,” Perkins said, he believes it is his ability to “get along with people” in almost every scenario. And as a town attorney, he treats the town’s business as seriously as he does his own.

“One of our things is to keep you out of trouble,” he noted. “If you hire me, there are things that I’ll probably recommend to do over a period of time that I think will save you money and effort and keep you from having the kind of problems that you might otherwise have.”

Caruthers asked what he could do to “expedite” the “numerous lawsuits” Millington is facing and get the city out of “all this mess.” Perkins acknowledged that the Tennessee Municipal League has assigned Ed McKenney to handle the litigation.

“We would expect to work with him and push very hard to try to come to some realistic solution,” he said. “We’ve worked together before, and we pretty much resolved every case that we’ve ever worked with him on. We’ve done it in a pretty satisfactory and speedy manner.”

When Caruthers asked if he could “make an impact” with the city’s ordinances to prevent more lawsuits from being filed, Perkins said he would do his “very best.” He said he would expect to make some “recommendations” in the areas of development, zoning and personnel.

Noting that the monthly meeting of the Arlington Board of Mayor and Aldermen is also on the first Monday, Huffman asked whether Perkins would be able to attend Millington’s meeting. Perkins said he would expect to be here.

“I’ve had as many as five lawyers in my firm at times,” he acknowledged. “And if the work is here, we can certainly staff up.”



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February 2013
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