Commissioners, citizens discuss county attorney search
April 9, 2015
A discussion at a recent policy workshop shed some light on how the county may approach the hiring of a new county attorney.
Grand County Attorney Anthony "Jack" DiCola announced his resignation effective July 1 at a Tuesday, Feb. 10, Grand County Board of Commissioners meeting.
During the Monday, April 6, workshop, citizens debated hiring a current employee versus opening the search to applicants from outside Grand County.
Former County Judge Ben McClelland previously suggested that the county promote Assistant County Attorney Robert "Bob" Franek to the position.
County Treasurer Christina Whitmer said, given the public support for the idea, she believed the search should be open to all applicants.
Commissioner Merrit Linke said he was afraid that, if Franek turned out to be the most qualified after an open search, he would be accused of orchestrating a "back door deal."
He added that Franek had not expressed interest in the position.
A previous suggestion entailed creating a search committee that included at least one citizen.
Citizen Jolene Linke said such a committee would alleviate any concerns of impropriety.
Commissioner James Newberry said the board wasn't making any decisions at the workshop.
"We're discussing this," he said. "We're trying to come up with the best plan. That's what we're trying to do."
Commissioner Kris Manguso said she believed it should be open.
"I think it's wise to allow applicants just like we do for a road and bridge employee or an assessor employee," she said.
Attendants also discussed whether the new attorney should be allowed to practice privately in addition to performing duties with the county.
DiCola has a private practice in Hot Sulphur Springs.
"You either exclude it or you don't, but you should find out if it's ethical," said citizen Ted Kaplysh.
Restructuring the county attorney's office was also a topic of discussion.
One suggestion included delegating legal work to non-contracted attorneys and possibly eliminating the assistant county attorney position.
The county attorney search is scheduled for discussion again at the board's April 13 policy workshop.