Lawyer wins Municipal Attorney of the Year


Mark Nettleton. Courtesy Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones

A Grand Rapids-based lawyer is the state’s Municipal Attorney of the Year — for his work with the village of Middleville and other municipalities across the state.

Mark Nettleton — an attorney at Mika Meyers Beckett & Jones PLC — has won the Distinguished Municipal Attorney of the Year Award from the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys.

Nettleton serves as the village attorney for the Village of Middleville and is general and special legal counsel for numerous villages, cities, townships, counties and public authorities throughout Michigan.

He specializes in the public finance needs of Michigan municipalities.

Statewide nominations

The Distinguished Municipal Attorney Award was established to honor municipal attorneys who have reached the highest level of professional accomplishment n the representation of cities or villages and contribution. The award also honors contributions to other municipal attorneys, through participation in and service to professional organizations such as the MAMA and the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

Michigan municipalities are asked each year for nominees, who are then reviewed by the MAMA board.

“In some years, multiple DMAs are awarded and in other years no DMAs are awarded, as it depends on the quality of the nominations,” explained Matt Bach, director of media relations at Michigan Municipal League. “In reviewing this year's DMA nominations, the MAMA board determined that Mr. Nettleton was well deserving of this honor.”

Village of Middleville

Nettleton was recognized particularly for his work with the village of Middleville and presented the award at a MAMA ceremony last month in Detroit.

“Certainly, I am honored and humbled,” Nettleton said. “It’s nice to be recognized for the work that you do. I wasn’t expecting the award at all — didn’t know that I had been nominated.

“It is particularly nice to recognized by your client,” Nettleton added. “Particularly, with the village of Middleville, I enjoy working with the village council members and the village manager and staff. They are wonderful people trying to do the best that they can for that community, and it is a neat community.”

Nettleton has assisted the village with sensitive matters and avoided unnecessary liability on a local park and trail project.

Nettleton’s other work with the village was highlighted during the award presentation: bond financing and installment purchase agreements in tight financial times; review and amendment of utility, regulatory and zoning ordinances, as well as DDA development and TIFF plans; and participation in all aspects of long-term community planning and visioning.

Nettleton said that he enjoys his work as a municipal attorney, because of the variety it affords, opportunity for teaching others and the sense of accomplishment of seeing projects that have been completed.

“It is not only the fact that every day and every issue is different, but it’s working with the clients, who really are just trying to do their best for their neighbors, for the people who live in their community,” Nettleton said.

Public financing

Nettleton specializes in public finance for municipalities to fund improvements such as a sewer system, fire truck or library.

The financing involves state and federal regulations and guiding municipal employees and elected officials, with other jobs, through the process, Nettleton said.

“That area is fairly complicated,” Nettleton said. “My job is to take a complicated area and explain it to them, so they can make an informed decision and make improvements in their communities.”

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