EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 15, 2013

Smooth transition sought in replacing Methuen solicitor

By Brian Messenger

---- — METHUEN — The search is on for a new city lawyer following the recent ouster of City Solicitor Peter McQuillan.

Applicants for Methuen’s top legal post have until Jan. 25 to send their resumes to City Hall. A search committee made up of five city councilors and two local lawyers will oversee the hiring process and select a group of finalists.

City Council Chairman Sean Fountain said finalists will then be interviewed by the full council. No hiring deadline has been set, he said.

“It’s up in the air right now,” said Fountain. “It depends on the number of applicants. It depends on the quality of the applicants and it depends if the applicants are best suited for the city. That’s what it will come down to.”

The City Council voted against reappointing McQuillan to a two-year term on Jan. 7. An opening for city solicitor was posted on the city’s website four days later. Fountain said the opening will also be advertised in area newspapers in the coming weeks.

Fountain said McQuillan will continue working as city solicitor until a successor is named. He said it’s also possible the council will decide to name an interim solicitor before making a permanent hire.

“We’re looking for a smooth transition process,” said Fountain.

The next city solicitor will make between $87,390 and $113,144 per year, depending on experience. Applicants must be members in good standing with the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers and have a minimum five years experience in municipal law.

“Experience in a municipal law department is a plus,” reads the job opening. “Excellent writing and verbal skills are a necessity.”

The five councilors on the search committee are Fountain, Jennifer Kannan, Tom Ciulla, Jamie Atkinson and Lisa Ferry. Also on the committee are local lawyers Arthur Broadhurst and Bryan Chase.

“Their experience will definitely be of assistance to us in choosing the right candidate,” said Fountain.

Broadhurst is a former state representative and current member of the Methuen Housing Authority board and Nevins Memorial Library board of trustees. Broadhurst said yesterday he hopes to use his experience as an attorney to judge applicants’ qualifications.

Chase has a law office in Haverhill and is an elected member of the Methuen Republican Committee, according to his website. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Fountain said Assistant City Solicitor/Human Resources Director Anne Randazzo helped him post the job last week. Fountain said she has not yet expressed her own interest in the opening. Randazzo did could not be reached for comment yesterday.

McQuillan has worked as city solicitor since 2005 and makes $113,144 per year. A motion for his reappointment was defeated 5-4.