DuPage County continues using former election commission attorney

The longtime attorney for the now-disbanded DuPage Election Commission will continue to represent the county in election-related matters.

Pat Bond, the commission's lawyer since 1996, has been appointed as a special assistant state's attorney by State's Attorney Robert Berlin. Bond will provide legal representation for the county clerk's office regarding its election duties.

Bond's appointment came days after the county board dissolved the long-troubled election commission and transferred its functions to the clerk's office.

"Pat Bond has more experience in election law than probably any other attorney in this county," Berlin said Monday. "He has a stellar reputation when it comes to election law."

While the election commission used outside lawyers, the clerk's office is represented by the state's attorney's office.

However, Berlin said his office doesn't have anyone on staff with Bond's level of election law expertise. Meanwhile, the office uses special assistant state's attorneys for a variety of areas, including worker compensation, wrongful death cases and environmental law.

"It allows us to get attorneys who have expertise in a particular area," Berlin said.

Bond will be paid $195 an hour by the state's attorney's office. His invoices will be reviewed monthly.

Repeated attempts to reach Bond for comment were unsuccessful.

After the appointment, County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek released a statement saying Berlin told her he was concerned about his office's ability to provide adequate representation on matters related to the April election if Bond wasn't retained.

"I defer to State's Attorney Berlin's judgment in this decision, in light of the fact that rulings handing down by the election commission under Mr. Bond's advice are still pending before the court," the Glen Ellyn Democrat said. "I believe it is reasonable that Mr. Bond be allowed to tie up any loose ends related to his prior representation on the election commission."

After the spring election, Kaczmarek said, she looks forward to "employing a more thoughtful and deliberate process to establish the terms of the county clerk's long-term legal representation on electoral matters."

Berlin said he will speak to Kaczmarek and "take a look at everything" after the election.

Still, Berlin stressed that he - and not Kaczmarek - will make the final decision about whether to continue using Bond's services.

"They (special assistant state's attorneys) answer to me," he said. "So it's ultimately my decision."

By law, the state's attorney represents all the county officials, so Kaczmarek can't hire her own attorney to represent the clerk's office.

"However, I did speak to her before retaining Pat Bond," Berlin said. "Certainly after the election, I will speak to her again and consider her input."

Jean Kaczmarek
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