It appears that two former city attorneys may be hired soon to fill a pair of vacancies created by the resignation of both of the city’s part-time municipal lawyers.
A deal is in the works that would install Dean Kilbourne, a former city attorney, as the city’s top lawyer, according to several Bristol officials.
Filling the part-time assistant’s slot would be Edward Krawiecki, Jr, who served as the city’s top lawyer from 2006 to 2008.
Kilbourne was the city’s top attorney from 2004 until Krawiecki took over after the election of Mayor William Stortz in 2005.
Mayor Art Ward declined Monday to name the lawyers he’s spoken with about the possible jobs, but confirmed there are “two potential nominees” who would need City Council backing.
Ward said the two he’s eyeing “would definitely enhance the ability of that office” to handle the workload placed on it.
He said that he and city councilors have informally agreed to accept the resignations of Dale Clift, the city attorney, and Jeff Steeg, the only part-time assistant city attorney.
Both Clift and Steeg said they would step down at month’s end unless the city added health care benefits to their positions. Clift earns $33,000 annually and Steeg collects $27,000.
Krawiecki said he spoke with Ward over lunch last week, who asked him if he could lend a hand.
While he’s still considering the offer, Krawiecki said, he believes that when a mayor asks for help, people have an obligation to try to assist.
“If you can do it, you step up,” said Krawiecki, a former state House minority leader who has a private legal practice in town.
Kilbourne, a former city Democratic Party chairman, could not be reached for comment this morning.
Clift has been city attorney since last spring. Steeg has been an assistant city attorney for a decade.
The city also has two full-time lawyers, Richard Lacey and Ann Baldwin.
There is a part-time city lawyer slot that’s been vacant for more than a year because Ward had long wanted to hire Krawiecki to fill it but couldn’t get the Democratic-controlled council to go along with him.
The two Republican council members, Ken Cockayne and Mike Rimcoski, have said they think Ward should tap Krawiecki to fill the gap created by the resignations of Clift and Steeg.
Ward said the city plans to advertise the third attorney’s slot and hire someone to fill it.
The city charter requires the mayor nominate a corporation counsel -- or city attorney -- and that the choice have the support of the City Council. The job runs with the term of the mayor.
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