Township attorney not enough; Lisle Township trustees hire their own attorney

Lisle Township trustees have hired not one but two attorneys to deal with the township board.

Trustees on Wednesday backed Supervisor Diane Hewitt's pick, Ross Secler from the Chicago law firm of Odelson, Murphy, Frazier & McGrath, for a township attorney.

Then, at a special meeting on Thursday, trustees approved a resolution hiring Keri-Lyn Krafthefer from Ancel Glink as legislative counsel to represent trustees if needed.

Hewitt, who did not attend Thursday's special meeting, questioned the legality of the move. Trustees, however, said hiring a legislative counsel was a precautionary necessity due to ongoing struggles between Hewitt and the township board. Trustees last month unanimously approved a vote of no-confidence in Hewitt.

"It's risk management, really," Trustee Autumn Geist said of trustees' decision to hire their own legislative counsel. "We're not expecting to need it, but at least it's in place if we do."

Though unusual, Secler said he is aware of other governmental entities that have employed a legislative attorney to represent board members when differences arise between the board and the board's head. However, he was hopeful trustees would not have to call on Krafthefer.

"I'm there because I think I can help, and I want to help," Secler said Friday. "They don't have to worry that I'm out to get them or that I would be tainted against them."

Secler and Krafthefer told trustees Thursday they have worked together in the past and want to see the township board "get back on track."

Secler replaces Yordana Wysocki, who resigned as township attorney in late August.

Trustees approved Secler's appointment after nearly an hour of questions during Wednesday's meeting. Trustees asked how he would navigate differences between trustees and the supervisor, why he was interested in the job - knowing the board's history - and how he would ensure proper rules were being followed.

Secler will be paid an hourly rate of $225, according to a resolution approving his appointment. Krafthefer will receive an hourly rate of $250 if trustees enlist her help.

During Thursday's special meeting, trustees also discussed the possibility of creating a position for a township administrator. Trustees are expected to further discuss the issue at a future personnel committee meeting.

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