Paulson not reappointed as Fairview Heights' city attorney

Amelia Flood May 27, 2009, 8:36am

Fairview Heights aldermen have refused to reinstate attorney Alvin Paulson as city attorney in what Paulson calls a politically motivated decision spearheaded by one alderman.

The alderman in question, Ward Three Alderman Pat Baeseke, had no comment when called Wednesday.

The vote taken May 19 ends the relationship between Fairview Heights and the firm of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson, which has represented the city since 1972.

Paulson, reached by phone Wednesday, said that no reason was given for his termination as city attorney. Fairview Heights Mayor Gail Mitchell had recommended the council reappoint Paulson as city attorney.

"They refused to a give any reason," Paulson said. "It's all political."

At the same meeting, the council also did not reappoint the city's engineer and planner, both veterans of more than 20 years.

Paulson said his firm has had an uneasy relationship with the city council going back to when his now-deceased partner, Robert Becker, acted for Fairview Heights.

Paulson went on to allege that the vote against his reappointment was spearheaded by Baeske. He denied that Fairview Heights' involvement in an ill-fated class action suit against 13 online travel companies had anything to do with the vote.

Per state law, Paulson will continue as city attorney until a replacement is found. The city is currently involved in other litigation. That status was one of the reasons Mitchell had urged the council to retain its current lawyer, according to previous reports in the Belleville News-Democrat.

The Paulson firm also represents the city of Mascoutah and works for St. Clair, Monroe, and Randolph counties.

A message was left for Mitchell Wednesday was not returned.

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