Updated: Denison picks new attorney

The Denison City Council on Friday selected Courtney Goodman-Morris as the city’s next attorney after previously winnowing the pool of applicants down to five. The committee made the decision during a short executive session that led off the early-morning meeting.

“We really got a good one, in my opinion,” said Mayor Jared Johnson after the Friday vote. “We had a lot of good candidates, but Courtney had the experience, she had the expertise, and she just interviewed well.”

Goodman-Morris comes to Texoma after serving the last five years as assistant city attorney for Amarillo, a position she’s held since October of 2008. Prior to that, she worked four years as an associate attorney for the law firm of Underwood, Wilson, Berry, Stein, & Johnson, also in Amarillo. She will replace former Denison City Attorney Tom Akins, who retired earlier this year.

For Goodman-Morris, who will bring her husband and two children with her to Denison, the change of scenery will be as much about family as it is about professional advancement.

“The city of Denison is very progressive; I was interested in the work they’ve done to clean up the downtown, and I was also attracted to the new development that’s going on,” said Goodman-Morris. “The fact that it’s such a family-friendly town and such a great place to raise children made it an easy decision.”

Johnson said the Council was attracted to Goodman-Morris due to her time spent under tutelage of one of the Lone Star State’s finest.

“The Amarillo City Attorney, Marcus Norris, is very well known throughout the state,” said Johnson. “He is a go-to guy for many cities on numerous things, and she’s had the opportunity to learn under him. We have a lot of confidence in the environment in which she’s been practicing municipal law.”

When informed by phone Friday afternoon of the mayor’s comments, Norris reacted with amusement. “I’m surprised that anyone in northeast Texas has heard of me!” he chuckled. “We regret that Courtney will be leaving, but we’re not surprised that she has been selected to be city attorney. She has the right stuff to be very successful in that role. Tom Akins was a friend. Now to have Courtney go there is just a wonderful turn of events.”

Goodman-Morris was quick to return the compliment.

“Marcus is one of the premier city attorneys in the state of Texas,” she said. “He has a wealth of knowledge, and he’s very well respected. He knew this would be a great career move for me and was very supportive. It was an honor and privilege to work with him.”

Denison’s new attorney received her J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2003 and completed her undergraduate at Texas A&M University in 1989. Goodman-Morris will earn $126,000 per year in her new position, and should start work sometime around Dec. 1.


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