EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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May 21, 2013

D'Agostino to reapply for city solicitor

METHUEN — Solicitor finalist Richard D’Agostino said he will reapply for the job he was passed over for last month when the City Council scrapped a nearly three-month search to fill Methuen’s top legal post.

“My desire to represent this community has not been diminished,” D’Agostino told The Eagle-Tribune.

The stalled solicitor search was a hot topic at last night’s council meeting, which D’Agostino of Salem, N.H., attended.

Facing a barrage of questions from councilors, Chairman Sean Fountain said D’Agostino and fellow solicitor finalist William Faraci will be invited to reapply for the job when a new search fo applicants kicks off in the coming weeks.

Faraci could not be reached for comment last night. Also free to apply is current Solicitor Peter McQuillan, though Fountain made clear his chances of being hired again.

“Obviously we’re going to encourage (D’Agostino and Faraci) and anyone to apply — including the current solicitor,” said Fountain. “I don’t think there’s going to be a resurrection ... after the problems we’ve had (with McQuillan).”

The search for a new solicitor stalled April 1 following a series of controversies and has yet to pick up again. That night, a motion to appoint D’Agostino to a two-year term as solicitor was defeated 5 to 4.

Last night, Fountain said the council will vote to hire a private law firm on an interim basis before the solicitor search is renewed. If approved, Fountain said the firm will provide “short term” legal coverage after McQuillan steps down.

Fountain announced May 6 that McQuillan would step down as solicitor. A precise departure date for McQuillan has not been determined. When asked last night by City Councilor Lisa Ferry when McQuillan will vacate his post, Fountain said “within the next week or so, I’m hoping.”

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