Committee conducting interviews in hunt for new Fairview Heights city attorney

Amelia Flood Jul. 29, 2009, 8:39am

Those wishing to provide legal representation for the city of Fairview Heights will be interviewed this week and next by a panel of three aldermen.

Long-time City Attorney Alvin Paulson of Belleville was not retained by the city in May, although he continues to represents the city until a replacement is found, according to statute.

Mayor Gail Mitchell appointed Third Ward Alderman Pat Baeske to head the ad hoc committee to find the new city attorney July 21 during a regular council meeting. Second Ward Alderman Roger Lowery and Fourth Ward Alderman Carol Warner are committee members.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Baeske said the committee has no specific time frame they are looking at for the selection. They are conducting interviews currently and will have another round of interviews next week.

Although the committee would like to find someone with past municipal experience, Baeske said it was not a requirement. The committee is looking for an individual or firm with contract law, litigation and planning review expertise.

Additionally, Baeske said, the city is looking for an attorney who does not represent any municipal body that competes with Fairview Heights or represents any union. According to Baeske, Paulson's firm had represented unions that city employees belonged to, meaning the city had to seek outside counsel when disputes arose.

Other qualities too, she said, are important.

"We want a neutral bias, someone who doesn't mix with city politics," Baeske said.

Paulson, whose Belleville firm had represented the city since its birth over 20 years ago, blamed politics for the close vote that ended his stint as city attorney.

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