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Controversial contract with Jeffco School Board attorney made public

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The letter of engagement with controversial Jeffco School Board attorney Brad Miller was made available to the public this month, two months after board President Ken Witt refused to disclose details of the contract to the board’s two minority members or the public during the regular December meeting.

The letter of engagement states that the firm Miller Sparks LLC, will “represent the Board of Education for JeffCo Public Schools.” This position is separate from that served by former Jeffco Schools legal counsel Alan Taggert, who represented Jeffco Schools and as necessary, the school board.

The letter specifies that Miller Sparks will “serve primarily as counsel to the Board” at a fee of $7,500 per month for 30 hours or less of work. Mileage and parking, secretarial services, administrative expense, copying, faxes and work that exceeds the 30-hour limit will be billed to Jeffco Schools in addition to the $7,500 fee.

According to the letter, Miller’s hourly rate is $225 and, Dustin Sparks rate is $200. Travel time will be billed according to which person is traveling, and only one-way. Mileage will also be reimbursed, as will travel expenses including taxis, rental cars, airfare, meals and hotels.

The Jeffco School Board President has the authority to approve additional hours and fees, according to the letter.

The scope of work listed in the letter includes providing legal advice to the board, attending and assisting at meetings, assisting with setting meeting agendas, preparation of certain board packet materials, and conducting board trainings.

Also listed under scope of work are reviewing board, subcommittee and DAC bylaws and policies and proposing updates and improvements, meeting with individual board members, Jeffco Schools staff and third parities to assist the board in efforts and initiatives.

Other elements Miller Sparks may assist with include:

  • development and implementation of initiatives
  • reviewing materials when open-records requests are made
  • legislative and political issues (with the specification that lobbying will be handled by the board's lobbying firm)
  • staffing
  • budget
  • communications

The letter specifies that Miller Sparks may “perform other tasks as directed by the Board as a whole or by the Board President.”

It also states, “detailed time reports shall be supplied in support of each month’s billing.”

Billing information for Miller Sparks is not yet available in the Jeffco Schools searchable payment review database, which can be found on the Jeffco Schools Financial Transparency page.

The full letter of engagement between the Jeffco School Board and Miller Sparks is available on the Jeffco Schools website on the School Board Minutes 2013 Archive. The letter is listed as Attachment A for the Dec. 12 meeting.

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