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Civil service board seeks new counsel
Longtime lawyer resigns position
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Forsyth County News

Attorney Dana Miles has resigned from representing the Forsyth County Civil Service Board after 12 years in the position.

The board accepted his letter of resignation, effective Feb. 1, at its meeting Thursday.

In his letter, Miles cited the reason for leaving as his law firm’s recent acceptance to represent the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

The firm’s new role “creates a potential conflict of interest which unfortunately precludes me from continuing to be the hearing officer and general counsel for the Forsyth County Civil Service Board,” Miles wrote.

The civil service system in Forsyth County allows employees under the protection, including those in the sheriff’s office, to appeal suspensions or termination before the three-member panel.

Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper recently hired Brian Hansford as agency counsel beginning Feb. 1.

Hansford and Miles are partners in the Cumming law firm Miles Patterson Hansford Tallant.

Chairman Terry Smith said Miles will be missed.

“He’s done an outstanding job,” Smith said. “I think he’s saved the county a lot of money in potential lawsuits or at least appeals of some of the decisions we render.”

The board then discussed the need to hire a new attorney and hearing officer.

In a 3-0 vote, the members decided to extend an invitation to Cumming attorney Richard Neville.

Member Tim Perry said Neville, of the law firm Neville & Cunat, has an extensive background in litigation, works at a “reputable firm” and is a “man of integrity.”

“I think he would represent the civil service board well,” Perry said.

Smith asked the board’s clerk to send a letter to Neville to see if he would accept the appointment, which would need to be ratified by the county commission.

Board clerk Charity Clark said after the meeting that the hourly rate for the new counsel would be discussed after the vacancy is filled.

“A rate would not be set or become official until it is presented and accepted by the board of commissioners at a work session,” she said.

In January, Neville was appointed to serve as municipal judge for Cumming.

Municipal judges handle cases covering offenses committed within city limits.