The Harrisburg City Council on Monday night hired Neil Grover, founder of Debt Watch Harrisburg, a taxpayer advocacy group, to represent it in Commonwealth Court.
Grover has recruited attorneys Paul Rossi and Lee Morrison to assist him in the planned Aug. 14 hearing over receiver William Lynch’s petition for a writ of mandamus.
Lynch went to the court over the council’s noncompliance with the city’s recovery plan — namely its failure to raise the earned income tax by 1 percent on city residents.
City officials recently hired Rossi to stop the state takeover of the debt-ridden capital city. Five councilors, along with the city’s controller and treasurer, filed a federal lawsuit to have the federal court declare the amended Act 47 law unconstitutional.
Rossi filed a previous federal suit on behalf of three city residents last year.
Morrison specializes in appellate cases.
Council President Wanda Williams has sent a letter to Lynch requesting that up to $125,000 be released for legal representation. City Clerk Kirk Petroski said an agreement setting the terms of payment with the new attorneys has not been finalized, though it could be $85 per hour for each.
Lynch is considering the request, spokesman Cory Angell said. Elected officials have rights to counsel, Grover said.
The council lost attorney Mark Schwartz after he withdrew his appearance over failed payment for services.