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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission votes to hire new county counselor

Updated: May 8

By Charlene Sims,

MOUND CITY – Last week on April 15, after going into closed-door sessions to interview three county counselor candidates, the Linn County Commission came back into open session announcing that no action had been taken in executive session.

However, the Journal has learned that a decision was made during the private session to hire Overland Park attorney Mark Hagen. That hiring was made public at the beginning of the meeting this Monday, April 22, when commissioners voted to sign an already prepared contract with Hagen at the beginning of the Monday, April 22, meeting.

Hagen, right, was recommended by Commissioner Jim Johnson the week after the March 4 contentious meeting when previous county counselor Gary Thompson abruptly resigned.

Hagen’s contract is for $175 an hour for work with the commissioners and county staff. He will receive no benefits. The contract also includes reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses like travel, telephone, and computer-based legal research. 

The three attorneys that interviewed for the post were Linn County Attorney Burton Harding, Conrad Miller and Hagen.

Harding has been filling in as interim county counselor until the position could be filled. Besides being the prosecuting attorney for Linn County, Harding has a private practice and his website lists his practice areas as child support, child custody, domestic battery, divorce, paternity, DUI charges, drug crimes and sex crimes law. Harding has also been city attorney for several cities in Linn County.

Miller’s profile on shows that his practice areas are personal and business bankruptcy and short sale negotiation. Other services include real estate, probate, wills and trusts and general litigation. He has developed the Bankruptcy Center of Kansas City to help with counseling for personal and business bankruptcy. 

Hagen’s areas of practice listed on Justia Law were criminal appeals, drug crimes, expungement, fraud, gun crimes, internet crimes, sex crimes, theft, violent crimes, suspended license, DUI, DWI, juvenile law, white collar crime and stockbroker and investment fraud. 

At Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Danny McCulllough thanked Harding for taking time to serve as county counselor while the county was without an attorney.

Last week before the interviews Johnson tried to discredit Harding by refusing to approve paying an invoice that Harding had turned in for his hours served as county counselor. As of this week, Harding’s invoice has not been paid but could be considered again next week.

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