After having been the lawyer for the city of Avon since July 2019, Paul Wisor is leaving his post to pursue another opportunity. Wisor is also leaving his position at Garfield & Hecht, where he has worked since 2018.
“I was the lawyer for the town of Mountain Village and they offered me the opportunity to come internally in this role and also appointed me interim city manager,” Wisor said, adding that he was leaving his current positions, with the support of Garfield & Hecht, to seize this new opportunity.
Wisor has been the lawyer for the Town of Mountain Village, located in San Miguel County, near the Telluride Ski Resort, since October 2020.
His final official act as Avon City Advocate will be an executive session Friday afternoon as part of the Avon City Council Budget Retreat. This executive session, according to the meeting’s record, is “for the purpose of receiving legal advice regarding strategies to combat the spread of COVID-19 among city staff and the community at large.”
Garfield & Hecht, as well as Wisor, in his role as municipal lawyer for Avon, were involved in the disputed recall signature case in the district court. The city filed its first complaint on December 1, 2020 against the Avon recall committee, asking the district court judge to decide whether the committee submitted enough voters’ signatures to trigger a recall. Garfield & Hecht appeared on the complaint as counsel for the complainant.
The basis of the city’s argument was that current state law violated First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights.
In the end, District Court Judge Russell H. Granger ruled in favor of the committee. And after some back and forth from city council on whether to appeal the decision, council voted to go ahead with the recall election. Throughout the case, members and volunteers of Avon’s recall committee had demanded that Wisor be fired as a town lawyer. The election will take place on November 2 in coordination with the county election.
Wisor was the third municipal lawyer appointed to Avon in the past 18 years, preceded by Eric Heil, who resigned to take on his current role as chief executive.
“As for the town of Avon, I really enjoyed my stay there. The staff are amazing and the board works incredibly hard on their behalf, ”said Wisor. “I think the community is lucky to have Eric Heil as their general manager. He does a great job for the community and they are in good hands with him.
Avon City Council will begin the process of hiring a new firm and a lawyer to represent the city at its next regular council meeting on Tuesday, September 28.
According to the Heil, an item will be added to the meeting’s agenda for “consideration of a representation agreement with Karp Neu Hanlon”.
Heil said Karp Neu Hanlon was one of the law firms previously reviewed and interviewed when the city last went through the process in 2019 and selected Garfield & Hecht and Wisor.
Ultimately, the city council will make the final decision on which cabinet will serve as legal representation for the city. Heil said the city council will select a company to hire for representation, and then a specific lawyer will be appointed from that company as the city lawyer.
Journalist Ali Longwell can be reached at [email protected]aily.com.