TODAY'S NEWS

Town attorney introduced at council meeting; fills position vacant since August

Page News and Courier

LURAY — Filling a position that had been vacant since August, Jason Botkins was formally introduced as the Town Attorney at the Feb. 8 town council meeting.

Botkins, who practices law with Litten and Sipe in Harrisonburg, will provide legal counsel to the town of Luray.

"Essentially, [the town attorney will] provide legal advice, document review and drafting for the town, on an as-needed basis," Botkins said. "That can cover a variety of different topics, depending on what comes up on any day. It can be a personnel issue, it can be a zoning issue, a tax-collection issue, financing, almost anything."

Botkins said he is looking forward to the challenge.

"It's an interesting position in that you're called on to understand and throw out advice on a variety of different topics," Botkins said.

Botkins received his law degree from the University of Richmond. He has practiced since passing the bar in 2005. Botkins initially got the urge to practice law from a family friend.

"I admired the career that he had had," Botkins said. "He seemed like he enjoyed it very much, so that kind of attracted me to the practice. As I got into college, I found that I enjoyed several of the things that go into practicing law — such as writing, arguing and those sorts of activities."

Practicing law in Harrisonburg, Botkins was familiar with the area before becoming town attorney.

"I had appeared in court in Luray representing other clients at various times over the years, so I had some knowledge of the town," Botkins said. "I had enjoyed some of the restaurants there and generally knew about the area."

Unlike previous town attorneys, Botkins is not on a retainer by the town and is instead paid an hourly rate. He is also not required to attend town council meetings, but will attend as needed.

Town Manager Charlie Hoke believes this new practice will save money in the long run.

"We'll be able to manage the town's needs more efficiently," Hoke said. "We can convey all of our concerns via email and I've done that a number of times."

Botkins noted that he is still getting getting used to his new position and is ready to accept any assignments as they come from the town. Botkins said he was impressed with the council meeting he attended, noting how open the meeting was and how the council members received input from the public.

"One of the things that I realized, it comes comes clear to you how much of an impact local government has on your day-to-day existence," Botkins said. "More so than federal government or even state government. It has an important role and I'm happy to play a small but meaningful role in that process."



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