FD native Kehm to represent Telecom board

Attorney will work with IXP contract process

The Webster County Telecommunications Board appointed an attorney at its meeting Thursday afternoon.

The action follows the board’s decision to hire New Jersey-based IXP, which occurred at the board’s Nov. 30 meeting.

At that meeting, IXP was approved to take over the operations of the Webster County 911 dispatch center that is located in the Webster County Law Enforcement Center.

On Thursday, the board unanimously approved Ryan Kehm, of Crimmins and Kehm Law Firm in Fort Dodge, to provide legal representation.

Webster County Chief Deputy Rod Strait was absent from the vote.

Kehm will be paid at an hourly rate of $175 per hour when his services are being used.

Prior to the decision, Fort Dodge Police Chief Roger Porter asked about the possibility of a conflict of interest.

Mark Crimmins, who is a partner in the same firm as Kehm, is the Fort Dodge city attorney.

“As far as the city, my partner Mark Crimmins is the city attorney,” Kehm said. “So in theory it’s one in the same that I represent the city as well and do a lot of work for the city. But in talking with Mark, the inner workings with this group and the city, I don’t think there would be any conflict. Mark felt the same way.”

Kehm joined the Crimmins and Kehm Law Firm in 2016.

Kehm said he also does work with the county.

“I work with the Board of Supervisors as the drainage attorney,” he said.

Merrill Leffler, a member of the Telecom board, said there could be instances where a conflict of interest could exist.

“I brought that up and Ryan is an extremely good attorney,” Leffler said. “It’s time to have an attorney on this board. I just thought that should be asked.”

Leffler added, “We are going to do the 28E agreements. This entity needs an attorney, the city has an attorney, and the county has an attorney that will negotiate those. With your practice with Mark being the city attorney, I was worried there might be a conflict there. But if you guys don’t. And that’s just one instance. It doesn’t come up very often. The county, city, we do stuff back and forth all the time. That’s just one instance I thought could be a conflict.”

Kehm said he would address each situation, accordingly.

“If there was something that came up that was a conflict, I would recuse myself from that matter,” Kehm said. “We would address it as it came up in any circumstance.”