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Fannin County Commissioners Court: Law firm retained for suit against opioid producers
By Jarrett Tucker
Nov 15, 2017
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Fannin County, Texas Ė At the regular meeting of Fannin County Commissioners Court, the meeting opened with the invocation which was delivered by David Woodson.  And a quorum was established with all members present.

In public forum this week, Paul Ivey mentioned a political sign and asked the court a question. He was informed that public forum was more for information and that commissioners could not answer questions in public forum. Newt Cunningham then spoke saying that they could answer if they wanted to in commissionerís comments at the end of court. Judge Carter then stated that we do not make commissioners court political and that we are here to take care business of the county.

Agenda item number four was to approve minutes from November 7, 2017.

Item number five was to approve the report of the canvass of election returns for 11/7/2017 constitutional election.

Agenda item six was to approve County Treasurerís Texpool Financial Report for October 2017. Mr. Woodson reported that interest from the counties nine accounts was $3,967.45 for the month of October.

The agenda item number seven was to approve the County Treasurerís financial report for October 2017. David Woodson reported the county took in $733,480.57 this month. He stated that receipts were starting to pick up this time of year.

Agenda item eight was to approve a letter of donation to Telephone Service, owned and operated by Larry Bursell, for the Nortel Telephone Equipment. The equipment was installed at the Family Life Center for County Court at Law and Criminal Clerk, Wire and Plastic Office Space for Criminal District Attorney and County Clerk, and McCraw Building for District Clerk, Treasurer, Auditor, Purchasing and IT Services in the amount of $900 for the three systems. Jill Holmes reported that Mr. Bursell installed and donated this equipment and just needed this letter for tax purposes.

Item number nine dealt with the burn ban for Fannin County. This was passed on, but will be kept on the agenda for weekly consideration.

Agenda item ten was to address employee parking at 200 E. 1st. There was some discussion and concerns brought before the court, and it was decided to do some more research on this item. Then bring it before the court again in two weeks.

Agenda item eleven was to approve a road bore for septic line at 388 CR 3110. Commissioner Lackey explained that this was just to allow a resident to put sprinklers for their septic system on their property on the other side of the road.

Agenda item number twelve was regarding Sheriff Mark Johnsonís appointment to MHMR Services of Texoma Board of Trustees. Sheriff Johnson was not in court and it was decided that they would pass on this agenda item until they could check with him.

Item number thirteen on the agenda was to approve the retention of Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, P.C. and Martin Walker P.C. This item brought many questions and comments. Some questions were, why we are hiring them, why are we not using local attorneys, and how much will this cost? These questions were answered and more when court was informed that this group would represent the county in a lawsuit against prescription opioid drug producers. Jeffery Simon gave a presentation on the opioid epidemic in the United States. After Mr. Simonís presentation, there was a long discussion and more questions to be answered. One was the cost: nothing.

"We work on a contingency fee of 30%," Mr. Simon stated. 

Commissioner Barker then commented, that in the retention agreement, the cost of litigation could also come out of the settlement. Mr. Simon agreed with the statement. After more discussion, this agenda item was approved.

Item number fourteen dealt with revisions to the Fannin County Investment Policy adding the Insured Cash Sweep (ICS) requirements. This item was approved.

Item number fifteen on the agenda was to approve payment of the bills.

Item number sixteen was comments by the county commissioners and county judge. No commissioners had comments. Judge Carter wanted to recognize Leah Gibby, his administrative assistant for almost two years, and thank her for her diligence. There will be a reception for Ms. Gibby, Friday at 1:30 p.m., in the council chambers of Bonham City Hall.

Agenda item seventeen was to adjourn the meeting.

If you have any questions or comments for your county commissioners or county judge, their contact information can be found at the web addresses below.