SANTA ROSA BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Walton County has been without a permanent county attorney for 2 years. Board members made motions at the Oct. 24 meeting to fill the job and reduce legal costs.
Acting attorney Clay Adkinson made his stance clear in the Santa Rosa Beach boardroom about the vacant council position.
“I’m not interested in that. I appreciate that. I’m willing to work with this board however you can,” said Clay Adkinson, Walton County’s Acting Attorney.
Adkinson started as the interim attorney in 2021 taking the board through legal battles such as customary use.
“When I signed up for this, I expected this, frankly, to be somewhere between six to nine months of service. I recognize it’s difficult. The number of open positions in-house government attorneys across this state, both for cities and counties, is incredibly high, perhaps never been higher,” said Adkinson.
Recently the county paid Adkinson $600,000 for work over the past year. Funds for Adkinson are coming out of the general budget rather than the legal fund meant for a full-time employee.
The budgeted salary for the full-time attorney is $300,000.
Commissioner Donna Johns is tired of the wait, proposing the human resources department to find a headhunter that can gather qualified candidates.
“He’s an interim attorney, and we need to have a regular attorney that can just devote his time to this board,” said Donna Johns, County Commissioner of District 4.
Her motion was denied due to a lack of support from other board members.
According to county records, outside legal services over the past five years amounted to more than 8 million dollars.
The county said recent applicants have not met the criteria to represent the board in legal matters.
To view all of the county’s open positions, click here.
Chairman of the Board Danny Glidewell presented the following slides to the Commissioners on Oct. 24 outlining the county’s past and costs associated with legal counsel.