By Alicia Lacy

Killeen Daily Herald

COPPERAS COVE – The City Council voted to approve Denton, Navarro, Rocha and Bernal PC of San Antonio for the city's legal services.

The firm was approved on Oct. 14 during a regular council meeting with a 4-3 vote. Place 3 Councilman Mark Peterson made the motion to the council to approve the firm, and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Reeves cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the firm.

Place 2 Councilman Larry Sheppard, Place 6 Councilman Willie Goode and Place 7 Councilman Frank Seffrood voted against the motion to approve the firm due to a lack of discussion about either firm following the workshops both firms held at the beginning of October.

"There wasn't a discussion.

It was cut and dry," Sheppard said.

Attorney Charles Zech of the firm will represent the city.

Zech worked with the council prior to his approval, as the attorney hired to investigate former mayor Roger O'Dwyer's alleged city charter violations.

Peterson said the fact that Zech was the attorney hired to investigate O'Dwyer was irrelevant to his vote.

According to Peterson, when you look at both firms side-by-side, the San Antonio firm was the most cost-effective and had a quicker response time.

According to Sheppard, because Zech is more familiar with the city and the goings-on of the city, he was the attorney appointed for the position.

The term of the city's current attorney, James Thompson, will not end until January. Zech will begin his term as city attorney in November.

"We're paying for two different legal services," Sheppard said.

Cove resident Chuck Downard said Mary Beth Harrell of Gatesville put in a bid for the position but was not considered.

"(She) didn't get any consideration.

She's very qualified for the position, but they wanted Zech," Sheppard said.

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