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April 2, 2013

Council votes to start solicitor search over

(Continued)

New guidelines for a search, suggested by Councilor Jamie Atkinson, could be considered for the new committee.

Meanwhile, McQuillan, who did not attend the council meeting, will remain in his post nearly three months after the council voted not to reappoint him to a two-year term. The city charter requires the solicitor to remain in his position until a successor is appointed.

Councilors last night suggested they wanted McQuillan out by asking whether an interim solicitor could be appointed or whether the assistant city solicitor, Anne Randazzo, who doubles as the director of human resources, could perform the solicitor’s duties.

Mayor Stephen Zanni said the charter does not permit an interim solicitor.

The council voted against reappointing McQuillan, who has worked as city solicitor since 2005 and makes $113,144 per year, on Jan. 7 after expressing frustration with his handling of several lawsuits against the city.

An opening for the job was posted on the city’s website four days later and advertised in The Eagle-Tribune and The Boston Globe. Fountain said he would consider expanding advertising for the position, after getting 12 applications. He said the committee expected more than 50.

The search committee met behind closed doors Feb. 6 to interview candidates at Broadhurst’s office, but Fountain failed to advertise the meeting 48 hours in advance in accordance with state open meeting laws.

Four finalists emerged from the initial interviews: D’Agostino; Faraci; Robin Stein, an assistant city solicitor for Salem, Mass.; and Kerry Anderson, who was a labor relations attorney for the city of Boston when she applied.

Stein and Anderson withdrew their names early last month, but the council voted to proceed with just two finalists.

D’Agostino was hired as assistant city solicitor in Lawrence in 2005 but was blocked from returning to the post in April 2012 after 16 months of medical leave. He has since sued the city in an effort to get his job back and collect $300,000 in damages.

Faraci has a law office in Haverhill and worked as assistant city solicitor for the city of Haverhill from 1977 to 2009.

Follow Douglas Moser on Twitter @EagleEyeMoser. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to eagletribune.com.

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