Jim Bisson steps down after 20 years as Dalton city attorney

Jim Bisson, center, speaks as his wife Susan and Dalton Mayor Dennis Mock look on. Bisson has stepped down after 20 years as city attorney and was honored by the City Council on Monday for his years of service.

Being a municipal attorney is exciting for a lawyer, says Jim Bisson, who has stepped down after 20 years as city attorney for Dalton.

"There's always something new. You deal with a variety of issues (such as contracts or property acquisitions)," he said. "I've enjoyed the work. I've enjoyed working with all of the council members and city employees over the years. But after 20 years, it's time to move on."

Bisson, who is an attorney with Dalton's The Minor Firm, said he will now focus on his commercial law practice.

Members of the City Council honored Bisson for his service at their meeting Monday night.

Council member Denise Wood has worked with Bisson for the past 10 years.

"I've probably asked Jim more questions than any other council member," she said. "He's always been very thorough in his answers. He's always in a protective mode with us in his advice, and I like that. I'd rather be cautious than take unnecessary risks."

Mayor Dennis Mock has worked with Bisson for more than four years.

"He's exactly what you would want in a city attorney," he said. "It's going to be difficult to replace 20 years of experience."

Council members voted 4-0 to name Jonathan Bledsoe, another attorney with The Minor Firm, as the city attorney on an interim basis. They plan to put out a request for proposals to fill the position. Mock typically votes only in the event of a tie.

Council members said they have great confidence in Bledsoe.

"He's been coming with Jim to our meetings and has filled in for him on occasion," said council member Gary Crews. "I'm sure he'll do a good job."

Council members also voted 4-0 to:

• Reappoint Police Chief Cliff Cason and Fire Chief Todd Pangle to two-year terms.

• Appoint Shaw Industries executive Susan Farris to a five-year term on the Board of Water, Light and Sinking Fund Commissioners (oversees Dalton Utilities). She replaces Cathy Holmes who is stepping off after two terms.

• Reappoint businessman Bob Kinard, financial adviser Skeeter Pierce and accountant Frank Robertson to three-year terms on the board of the Dalton-Whitfield Joint Development Authority.

• Reappoint businessman Danny Morgan to a five-year term on the board of the Dalton Municipal Airport Authority.

• Approve package beer and wine licenses for the BP on Walnut Avenue and the Spinning Room.

• Approve a wine pouring license for El Ranchero Mexican Restaurant.

• Approve package beer, wine and liquor pouring licenses for JJY Liquor Store.

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