A conflict of interest for county attorneys?

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By Chris Sardelli

Several calls were made to The Lancaster News recently asking if there is a conflict of interest in the landfill issue with the county’s attorneys, McNair Law Firm, representing both the county and Waste Management.
Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said the law firm is not representing both clients at this time.  
“McNair is a statewide law firm, so at some point in time, I’m sure they’ve represented Waste Management about something,” Willis said. “But they always make sure it hasn’t risen to the level where it’s a conflict of interest.”
He said in cases where there is a conflict of interest, McNair law firm recuses itself from a case and asks the county to use another firm.
This happened last year during a conflict between the county and a number of concrete companies in Indian Land.
One of those companies was represented by McNair and the firm recused itself from representing the county in those matters, Willis said.
“In that case, we had to get another law firm, Turner Padget Graham & Laney, to represent the county,” Willis said. “Under state law, it’s a conflict if you don’t recuse yourself. If they did represent us and it was a conflict, then the state Ethics Commission would be on them like a ton of bricks.”