EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

February 21, 2014

City to start new search for solicitor


“If you have a labor issue, (Kopelman and Paige has) one and that person handles it, but we’re still being charged,” Kazanjian said.

The city has a potential lawsuit on the horizon, with former health director Brian LaGrasse considering suing after his salary was basically removed from this year’s budget. His attorney has submitted a letter with demands to the city, which has yet to respond.

According to a list of criteria approved last night, the search committee will consist of three councilors chosen by Chairman Jamie Atkinson. The search committee will draw up a calendar listing all meeting dates, locations and times in advance.

All meetings will be recorded, including closed executive sessions, and minutes will be taken.

Applications will be accepted for four weeks and will not be opened until after the deadline has passed.

The position will be advertised locally in The Eagle-Tribune, in The Boston Globe and in legal publications such as Lawyers Weekly.

Human resources will create a job description, including minimum requirements, will report to the committee which applicants do and do not meet the minimum requirements, and will submit a master list of applicants to the committee.

All candidates will be confidential until they are designated as finalists, at which time their names will be released.

Last year’s search began in January when the council voted not to reappoint McQuillan as solicitor. McQuillan retained his job as Methuen’s top lawyer as the council looked for a replacement, but the search was hampered by numerous problems, including a meeting held at attorney Arthur Broadhurst’s office in violation of the state Open Meeting Law. Between six and eight solicitor candidates were interviewed at the secret meeting.

Four finalists emerged from a small pool of qualified candidates, but half of them backed out days after their names were made public. The committee at first intended to interview those four behind closed doors, but reversed course when its members learned state law prohibits officials from interviewing finalists in closed sessions.

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