Avon names Karl Hanlon as interim town attorney
The town will reevaluate the appointment later this year or at the start of next year
The town of Avon appointed an interim town attorney at this week’s Town Council meeting following the departure of Paul Wisor from the role last week. The town appointed Karl Hanlon as the interim town attorney, also retaining his firm Karp Neu Hanlon for legal services.
“Town council will reevaluate this interim appointment, when we have more time, hopefully at the end of this year maybe early next year we could revisit what our legal needs are and what’s most appropriate for council and council’s desire,” said Eric Heil, Avon’s town manager.
While acting as a town attorney mostly includes items like overseeing development agreements, giving legal advice and drafting ordinances, over the course of the past year, Avon’s now-former town attorney, Wisor and his firm Garfield and Hecht, was embroiled in a recall effort and resulting legal battle. After months of fighting this battle in the district court and in the Town Council chambers, the town is hosting the recall election this November.
The town previously interviewed Hanlon in 2019 when it last went through the process of finding an attorney. It was, at this time, that Wisor and Garfield and Hecht were selected as legal representation for the town.
Hanlon, who joined the Tuesday, Sept. 28 Town Council meeting virtually, said that, as a firm, Karp Neu Hanlon has been operating on the Western Slope since 1978.
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“One of our major areas of practice is municipal law,” Hanlon said, adding that he himself started in municipal law in 2000, serving as in-house council for the city of Glenwood Springs for five years. Since then, he has served a variety of other Western Slope municipalities.
Currently, this includes Glenwood Springs, where since 2015 he has served as its general counsel within Karp Neu Hanlon, as well as the town of Silverthorne, where he serves as general counsel. Previously, he has served as Grand Junction Regional Airport general counsel and a number of fire districts.
The firm itself also provides representation to Minturn, Basalt, Newcastle, Silt, Rifle, Palisade, Parachute and Collbran. According to Hanlon, six of the firm’s 14 attorneys are dedicated to its municipal practice in both a full- and part-time capacity.
“I have worked on municipal issues for the last 20, going on 25 years,” Hanlon said. “In Colorado, in the firm, we’ve worked on almost every issue that communities have faced. I have a bit of a passion for issues surrounding housing, having worked on a number of those housing projects over the last few years, including spending time on the school board as an elected official working on housing issues. I’ve also spent a lot of time on water issues in Colorado.”
Council member Tamra Underwood did point out in the meeting that Hanlon’s rate was higher than that of the previous town attorney, Wisor. Heil confirmed, stating that Wisor’s rate was “between $200 and $210.” The Town Council meeting packet lists Hanlon’s hourly rate as $225.
Hanlon was appointed — via a unanimous vote of the Town Council — to start immediately.
“I promised him a full plate first thing in the a.m. tomorrow,” Heil said.