“We’re really excited here to be in there,” he said of South El Monte. “The way I see it, we have five individuals who are incredibly interested in getting projects off the ground.” Barrow said only that his firm offered a competitive rate. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2703160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SOUTH EL MONTE – With four major housing and retail projects on the drawing board, the city has fired its Community Development Commission attorney and hired a new firm – but it is paying about $75 more an hour. “I don’t know if the other council members get it, but we don’t have a bunch of money to be throwing around,” said Mayor Blanca Figueroa, who voted against hiring the new attorney. “We have had no problems with the current attorney. He’s done a good job. We’re not getting sued by anyone. He’s under budget. And he gets us the details we need.” Councilman Joseph Gonzales also voted against the change from attorney Quinn Barrow to the new attorney, James Casso. Barrow will still serve as the city attorney for matters not relating to the Community Development Commission. “They say \ is unfriendly to developers,” Gonzales said of council members Louie Aguinaga, Angelica Garcia and Hector Delgado, all of whom voted to hire Casso. “What do they want our attorney to do, just let the developers run the city?” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsBut other members said they were afraid the city was getting a reputation for being tough on businesses. “We have big developers who work in a lot of cities telling us, `No wonder you haven’t had much development in the past, you guys are not business- friendly,”‘ Aguinaga said. “For the first time in like 20 years, we have a lot of projects all going. This is our chance for some real change, and we are really trying to make the city government more efficient.” He also said that Casso and his firm, Myers Nave, promised to stay under budget. The firm charges $250 per hour, compared to Barrow and his firm – Richards, Watson & Gershon – which charged $175 per hour. “Yeah, it’s true he’s charging a little more by the hour, but he hopefully will be more efficient,” Aguinaga said. “He promised to stay under budget. And if he goes over, he’s fired.” Casso said he has been following South El Monte’s politics and development since the 1980s. He recently joined Myers Nave after leaving the firm Alvarez-Glasman & Colvin. He said both cities where he serves as city attorney, La Puente and Pico Rivera, decided to keep him even after he changed firms.