After 10 months, Barrington Hills seats, pays village attorney
Barrington Hills trustees voted Wednesday to approve the hiring of a village attorney selected last August by Village President Martin McLaughlin, ending a long dispute over the appointment.
The village board voted 4-2 to name the law firm of Bond Dickson & Associates as village attorney, removing the "temporary" tag from the firm which had served in that capacity for 10 months. Trustees Fritz Gohl and Michael Harrington voted against the appointment.
The dispute started when McLaughlin chose the firm to replace the law offices of Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella, which he asked to resign two days earlier. At the time, a majority of the board opposed McLaughlin's actions, saying he didn't consult with them first.
"I just thought there was an absence of a good-faith effort to work with the board," Harrington said Thursday. "I think we were generally disregarded in that capacity,"
In October, the board went through a request of proposal process to seek a new village attorney, but McLaughlin did not appoint the board's choice. Under village code, the attorney is appointed by the president, by and with the approval of the board of trustees.
McLaughlin said the previous board's long opposition to Bond Dickson was motivated by politics more than performance.
"I don't think the village attorney is a political position," McLaughlin said. "I want (the board) to consider (Bond Dickson) on their merits rather than consider personal politics."
The vote Wednesday came during the first meeting since new trustees Bryan Croll, Michelle Maison and Brian Cecola were sworn in. Their predecessors -- Karen Selman, Patty Meroni and Joseph Messer -- all opposed Bond Dickson's appointment.
The new board also approved paying Bond Dickson the nearly $60,000 the village owed them since they began working in August. The previous board had voted repeatedly against paying them.
McLaughlin said residents are better served with Bond Dickson as village attorney.
"They are a smaller firm where our village will get more attention," McLaughlin said. "In the past we weren't getting concise, direct information from our village attorney during meetings."
McLaughlin added that Bond Dickson charges a lower rate than their previous attorney.
Firm partner Mary Dickson said the firm is happy the board made their appointment official.
"We've really enjoyed representing Barrington Hills and getting to know the residents there through all the work we've been doing," Dickson said.
Harrington said he hopes the debate is over once and for all.
"It's not fun to have this argument every single month," Harrington said.