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updated: 12/1/2014 1:27 PM

Former DuPage County judge may represent forest preserve

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  • John T. Elsner

    John T. Elsner

 
 

A newly retired DuPage County judge is poised to become the attorney for the DuPage County Forest Preserve District.

John T. Elsner, who until this week served as chief judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit, has been nominated by forest preserve commission President Joe Cantore to become the head counsel for the district. The full commission is expected to vote Tuesday on the appointment.

If Elsner's appointment is approved, he will be an independent contractor and not a district employee, according to a forest preserve memorandum. But Elsner will do his work from the district headquarters in Wheaton.

The district will pay Elsner a retainer of $12,500 a month. He also will get to use an office, a district-owned computer and a landline phone.

Elsner will be responsible for his cellular phone service and transportation to and from the district offices.

Since he won't be an employee, he won't receive any insurance, retirement, vacation time or other benefits provided to district employees. He also will be responsible for paying his professional liability insurance.

Elsner's appointment would mean a demotion for the district's existing attorney, Jim Knippen.

Walsh, Knippen, Pollock and Cetina has been the head counsel for the district for two years. The Wheaton-based firm will continue to do work for the district in other areas if Elsner is hired, officials said.

Elsner, who is a graduate of Lewis University College of Law, was appointed as an associate judge in 1991 and elected circuit judge in 2000. He was elected in 2011 by DuPage's circuit judges to become the chief judge of the 18th Circuit.

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