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updated: 8/12/2011 8:11 AM

Grafton Township wins court fight over attorney

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n Illinois appellate court has reversed a lower court's ruling that forced Grafton Township trustees to hire an attorney whose nomination the board rejected.

Earlier this year, township Supervisor Linda Moore nominated Rockford-based attorney John Nelson for township attorney after a court decision cut ties between the township and its former attorney, Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, of Chicago-based Ancel-Glink.

But township trustees rejected Nelson's nomination in a 4-1 vote.

Moore then filed a motion with the circuit court seeking an injunction to compel the board to confirm her nomination of Nelson, who is representing Moore in additional legal battles with the board over the running of the township.

The trial court granted the motion.

But in its opinion filed Monday, the Second District Appellate Court of Illinois ruled that the Circuit Court of McHenry County did not have the authority to direct township trustees to hire Nelson.

"The trial court's order in this case removed the board from the process, in essence allowing an attorney to be appointed solely by the action of the supervisor," the opinion read. "This is plainly at odds with the statute ... The statute provides for the board to give its 'advice and consent' rather than directing it to perform an action."

Grafton Township Trustee Gerry McMahon said he was pleased with the result.

"It is the proper decision because the circuit court got it wrong," McMahon said. "He can't tell the board what do."

Moore said she is uncertain what her next step will be.

"I can tell Mr. Nelson to take it to the Illinois Supreme Court or I can try to nominate another attorney," Moore said. "I am mulling over what I should do at this point."