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Pinecrest

Pinecrest hires new village attorney

 

bvaldes@MiamiHerald.com

Pinecrest council members on Tuesday unanimously appointed Mitchell A. Bierman of the law firm of Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske to serve as village attorney.

Chad S. Friedman, also of the Weiss Serota firm, will serve as deputy village attorney.

Council members concluded that Weiss Serota showed local interest and knowledge of the issues facing the community, such as land use, annexation, and water and sewer service

“We could not do better than Weiss Serota,” said Vice Mayor Jeff Cutler.

The 20-year-old firm focuses on representing local governments. Bierman also serves as town attorney for Cutler Bay where Friedman also is deputy attorney. Bierman previously worked for the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Office.

Councilman Joseph Corradino said he feels confident selecting the firm because of its experience with cities, the county and the state.

“We are thrilled and honored to have been nominated,” said Bierman. “It is a homecoming of sorts for me and my colleague Chad Friedman, because we both grew up around there and went to Palmetto High School and Temple Beth Am. We could not be happier.”

Palmetto High and Beth Am are both in Pinecrest.

Bierman’s selection came after the council held a panel interview of three finalist firms. The other competitors included John Hearn and Gray Robinson.

The village manager, village clerk, planning director, and two Pinecrest residents who are attorneys chose the finalists.

Council members also considered Hearn, a solo practitioner who has represented the city of Coral Springs in Broward County, but did not choose him because they said they wanted the resources of a larger firm.

“Some challenges with a solo practitioner would be a problem and would have to be contracted out,” Mayor Cindy Lerner said. “That was an issue I personally had a problem with.”

Cynthia A. Everett, also a solo practitioner, was the village attorney for 14 years. She left after accepting a position as city attorney for Fort Lauderdale.

Gray Robinson offered J. Michael Marshall of the firm’s Boca Raton office, but council members agreed that the firm’s knowledge of the issues facing Miami-Dade County and Pinecrest did not compare favorably with Weiss Serota, whose other local municipal clients include Homestead, Key Biscayne, Aventura and others.

Cutler said the one advantage the village would have had with Gray Robinson would be a strong Tallahassee presence.

The village advertised for the work, and received responses from 10 firms.

Mayor Cindy Lerner and Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez will negotiate with Weiss Serota and bring a contract to the council at its next meeting, at 6 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the Pinecrest Municipal Center, 12645 Pinecrest Pkwy .

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