In his Southern drawl, Onslow’s interim attorney said the county is getting a good deal on legal fees.
Garris Neil Yarborough, who has a law office in Fayetteville, charges $350 an hour since his hire in May. Onslow County Board of Commissioners cut in-house legal services the month before in a quest to curb expenditures.
Yarborough billed Onslow $15,532 for July. His fees include $285 registration for a county attorneys’ summer conference and $1,700 for preparation and attendance at a commissioners’ meeting July 18, according to his bill. There also was a 12-minute phone call for $50 and an email he reviewed for twice that amount.
He said he did not charge the county for lodging and travel to the summer conference.
Yarborough’s service replace that of former county attorney Lesley Moxley, who was dismissed during budget hearings in April. Roughly $650,000 in annual fees were generated by her office and fees for additional attorneys hired for specific legal expertise
“The legal affairs of Onslow County were in good shape when I came in,” Yarborough said. “There’s a lot to do, but it was in good shape.”
His rate is half for time spent driving. He has been a litigant for Onslow in the past, he said, and he helps with cases for Halifax and Lee counties.
His costs in July were lower than all requests for proposal from prospective permanent Onslow County attorneys.
“I have no interest in being the full-time attorney,” he said.
He’s just too busy.
“I’m glad to serve for them until they can get a permanent attorney,” Yarborough said.
Onslow’s legal expenses for July were $15,532 total. Some of those expenses include:
• $2,900 for all travel to and from Onslow County
• $2,200 for all phone calls
• $2,100 to review agenda and attend commissioners’ workshop July 11
• $1,700 to attend and prepare for commissioners’ meeting July 18
• $1,500 to attend and prepare for workshop
• $1,085 to review case file and numerous conference calls for Nies v. Emerald Isle
• $1,000 to attend and prepare for Board of Adjustments meeting.
• $645 for all emails
• $625 to review services contract with Emerson Network Power and review of other documents
• $250 travel to and from Raleigh