City hopes to have attorney by this month

Published 9:31 am Monday, August 11, 2008

Albert Lea city staff have only received one application thus far in the search for a new city attorney, City Manager Victoria Simonsen said Thursday.

Two weeks have passed since the advertisement was put out announcing that the city was taking applications for the position, which is being vacated by City Attorney Steve Schwab. Schwab will be seated as the new Freeborn County District Court judge on Sept. 2.

He has worked as the Albert Lea city attorney since 1989.

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Simonsen said she will now be notifying firms of the position opening, with the goal to make an offer to an individual or a firm by the end of August. She is expecting at least two firms to submit applications.

“We’re hoping some more applications will come in the rest of this week or the beginning of next week,” Simonsen said.

Applicants will then go through two different interview panels. The first would consist of people such as herself, Police Chief Dwaine Winkels, the attorney’s assistant and a representative from the Albert Lea City Council, to name a few.

The second would consist of people the attorney would work closely with on a regular basis, including a representative from the Crime Victims Crisis Center, a court administrator and other representatives from the county.

A two- to four-week gap is expected from when Schwab is seated on the bench to when the new city attorney will begin.

The Freeborn County Attorney’s Office has agreed to take on the city’s criminal cases during the interim, she said, and has also made an offer to take all of the city’s criminal cases permanently.

Schwab spent about 70 percent of his time on criminal cases, Simonsen said.