Saturday, February 11, 2012

Committee votes to keep Council utility advisors

Posted By on Sat, Feb 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

The selection process for hiring utility advisors to the New Orleans City Council is set to conclude at the next council meeting, when council members will consider the unanimous recommendation of its Utilities Committee to keep the current advisory team in place.

Washington-based attorney Clint Vince of SNR Denton has led the council’s utility advisors for 28 years and racked up an impressive record of wins against Entergy New Orleans (ENO) and its parent company on a variety of fronts. All the same, the council voted in December to extend SNR Denton’s contract on a month-to-month basis while the Council Utilities Committee considered the qualifications of three other law firms seeking the council’s advisory contract.

Last week, after two months of intense lobbying and competition among the interested firms, the committee unanimously recommended Vince’s firm for a one-year contract with four annual renewal options.

While the stage appears set for the status quo to continue, one thing will change: SNR Denton, a worldwide firm with more than 60 offices around the globe, will open a New Orleans office at 650 Poydras St. by March 1. Vince tells GAMBIT the office will be much more than a storefront. “It is my hope that SNR Denton will provide a new and robust source of commerce for the city,” said Vince, who leads his firm’s energy, transport, and infrastructure team. “Our commitment in New Orleans will be a catalyst for additional enterprise with SNR Denton’s other locations throughout the world for the benefit of this great American city. New Orleans is a natural fit with our growing US and international energy practice.”

Among the attorneys to be hired or affiliated with Vince’s firm are Jay Beatmann Jr., who has represented private and public clients in utility matters before the council and the Louisiana Public Service Commission; Royce Duplessis, a New Orleans native who has worked with the firm in other cities and who previously worked for former District C Councilman James Carter; and Basile Uddo, a veteran local attorney and law prpofessor who has served as an advisor to the council’s Cable, Telecommunications and Technology Committee since 2000 and represented the council in ENO’s post-Katrina bankruptcy proceedings.

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