Student government members have hired and paid a lawyer and a Public Relations consultant a combined total of $10,953.50 from student fee money so far, according to recently released public documents.
The members hired lawyer Greg Lynch from Miller Nash LLP and PR consultant India Simmons from PR Ink.
Last October, the Associated Students of Central Oregon Community College issued a memorandum that stated it was hiring a lawyer and a PR consultant to “clarify ASCOCC’s autonomy,” and to ensure that while they worked on a “clearly defined relationship,” COCC could not dissolve or alter the student government.
“Miller Nash LLP is pleased to have the opportunity to be of service to ASCOCC as general counsel to assist the association in resolving the current issues and conflicts with Central Oregon Community College,” stated the agreement for legal services submitted to ASCOCC from Lynch.
Miller Nash LLP’s law firm submitted an invoice to ASCOCC for the services of Lynch, a partner in the law firm. The invoice is addressed to ASCOCC, specifically to Brenda Pierce and Terry Link, ASCOCC’s marketing and advertising coordinator and legislative coordinator respectively.
The billing for Lynch is for 17 hours in Oct. 2010. Lynch’s rate per hour is $295. The total $5,103.50.
Simmons submitted an invoice for $5,850.00 on Nov. 20. A check was requested of fiscal services for that amount. The fee covered September through November for ten hours a month. Simmons charges $195 per hour.
She was hired to provide the ASCOCC members with an advocate’s perspective, a perspective they needed in the situation they are in, according to Simmons.
“ASCOCC didn’t need a PR consultant, they needed an advocate,” said Simmons.
Although Simmons was paid for ten hours a month, the invoice from PR Ink states that the “actual time worked-30+ hours per month.”
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Simmons on why she volunteered over 20 hours.
Agreements with COCC
ASCOCC members requested Lynch’s services from Oct. 1, 2010 through a date to be determined in 2011, while Simmons agreed to “perform during the period September 2011 [sic] to estimated Feb. 2011,” according to the independent contractors agreements included in the documents.
The independent contractors agreements were entered into between COCC and Simmons and Lynch, seperately, and both signed by Taran Underdal, ASCOCC’s advisor.
Aside from the agreement for legal services submitted from Miller Nash to Pierce and Link, there is no agreement with ASCOCC’s name relating to the hire and payment of Lynch and Simmons in the requested documents.
“The student government uses the same paperwork as the college and therefore they are college forms that represent the student government,” said Ron Paradis, director of college relations for COCC.