Des Plaines has hired the Chicago law firm of Holland & Knight to serve as the city's general counsel filling one of two department head vacancies, City Manager Mike Bartholomew said Tuesday.
The other vacancy, that of police chief, will be filled by Aug. 15, he said.
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The law firm replaces City Attorney Dave Wiltse, who retired in July after 18 years of working with the city.
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 1, Holland & Knight attorney Peter Friedman will be the city's primary attorney. He will be attending all city council meetings, starting Sept. 4, as well as the city manager's staff meetings.
"He will maintain office hours three days a week here," Bartholomew said. "It really is a structural change as to what we have done in the past. They are a very well respected firm. They have over a 1,000 attorneys nationwide."
The firm also maintains an office in Washington, D.C., which should come in handy if the city needs legal help with any proposed legislation, Bartholomew said.
"It's just the depth of the firm that was the main reason that we chose them," he said. "We can work on multiple things at one time."
The city will maintain some in-house clerical staff in its legal department.
Meanwhile, Bartholomew said he plans to name a new police chief by Aug. 15.
Deputy Police Chief Mike Kozak has been running the department in the interim since Police Chief Jim Prandini retired in December after 31 years with the city; eight as police chief.
There were 51 applicants for the job from Illinois and several states, including one internal candidate.
The salary range for the job is expected to be between roughly $113,000 to $147,000. As a department head, the selected candidate would have 12 months to relocate to Des Plaines, per city code.