The retirement of longtime city lawyer Ann Baldwin leaves a gaping hole in the city attorney’s office.
Baldwin, a 32-year veteran, was one of two full-time attorneys working for the city.
Her departure means the city has to get by without a corporation counsel – the part-timer who’s supposed to run the office – as well as half its full-time staff.
There are also two part-time assistant city attorneys – and another part-time slot that's vacant.
Mayor Art Ward said Monday he’s “looking through some of the resumes that applied previously and I hope to have some decisions made by the December City Council meeting so we can fill those positions.”
Ward said he plans to fill the slot that Baldwin has held as well as the city attorney’s position.
So far, he said, the office has been getting by without the other part-timer so as long as money is short, the city will try to get by without filling it.
The city attorney’s job has remained vacant since June, when Dale Clift resigned from the part-time post because it was gobbling up too much of his attention and crimping his private practice.
Finding a successor to Baldwin will be tough, city officials said.
Ward said she always did her job “with the utmost professionalism.”
Former Mayor Frank Nicastro, who relied heavily on Baldwin’s advice, said that Baldwin “was right there for us” whenever an issue needed to be resolved.
He said she was the sort of lawyer who didn’t hesitate to speak up.
“I’d say, ‘Why can’t I? I’m the mayor,’” Nicastro said, and then Baldwin would carefully explain the legalities of why he couldn’t do whatever it was he wanted.
“And she was right,” Nicastro said.
Nicastro said her departure is “a great loss for the city,” but after “putting up with us” for so many years, her retirement is well-deserved.
The other full-time city lawyer, Richard Lacey, has long experience as well. Though he’s only been full-time since Mayor Gerard Couture’s administration, he served as the city attorney for years beforehand.
The two part-time lawyers are Edward Krawiecki, Jr and Tom Conlin. Krawiecki is a former city attorney. Conlin, though hired this year, has extensive experience at City Hall as a former member of the Board of Finance.
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