(Correction on the amount County Attorney is paid 12/5/14)
The Atlantic City Council, Wednesday, reviewed applications submitted for the position of City Attorney. Current City Attorney Dave Wiederstein was elected Cass County Attorney in November, and will be stepping down from his position with the City, in January. Interim City Administrator John Lund said Wednesday, notices were sent to all local Attorney’s and law firms, with four applications having been returned to his office. On Monday, the City’s Personnel and Finance Committee reviewed those applications.
Applicants for the one-year, renewable contract included: Attorney J-C Van Ginkel; Andrew Knuth; Justin Hockenberry with the Cambridge Law Firm, and the Law Firm of Otto, Lorence and Wiederstein. The person hired would be on a general retainer, with anything outside of normal business falling under “Billable hours.” A clause for Criminal Prosecutions will be decided on at the time the new Attorney is hired.
Wiederstein said if the General/Civil and Criminal retainers are included together in the contract, he would recommend continuing the $15,000 annual salary he is currently paid, for Criminal Prosecutions, above and beyond what is proposed in the General Retainer. Currently, the Cass County Attorney handles Criminal Prosecution cases for the City, while serving as a paid, Assistant City Attorney. At least one of the firms that had expressed interest in the City Attorney position, later indicated they would not have applied if Criminal Law work was included in the job description, while the others indicated they would be agreeable to it.
John Lund said the Personnel and Finance Committee recommended the Council accept the application from the law firm Otto, Lorence and Wiederstein. The firm has hired North Carolina Attorney Jamie Arnold, who, if hired, would handle the duties of City Attorney. The Council Wednesday discussed, but did not take action on a decision in the matter, until they can meet Arnold. That meeting is expected to take place sometime later this month, with a decision on who will be hired to take place in January.
In other business, the Atlantic City Council approved a Resolution for the Calendar Year 2015 Atlantic Municipal Utilities’ budget, which was approved earlier by the AMU Board. AMU General Manager Steve Tjepkes had some good news for their customers. He said there are no new water or electric rate increases in the budget this year.