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Village Board Tables Renewing Querrey & Harrow's Annual Contract

Oak Lawn Village Board wants to make sure it's getting the most bang for its buck with the current village attorney.

The law firm that has been handling some of the litigation from an acrimonious investigation into the law firm it was hired to replace had its yearly contract renewal as the village attorney tabled by the Oak Lawn Village Board.

Village board members decided to remove renewing Querrey & Harrow’s annual contract—which expired on July 31—exercising a 30-day option to terminate services.

“I’d like to make a motion to table because I’ve had many concerns brought to our village manager’s attention and I’m waiting for replies on that,” Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) said. “Until I get the replies, I’d like to table that.”

Querrey & Harrow was hired by the village board in 2009 to replace the former village attorneys, who have since been portrayed as botching major litigation and charging twice for legal work in an

The village hired another law firm, Godfrey & Kahn, to explore litigation against the former village attorney, Tressler, Soderstrom, Maloney & Priess, LLP.

Pulling “a term out of business school,” Trustee Tom Phelan (Dist. 6) called for a “SWOT” analysis, examining the village’s litigators’ “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.”

Phelan called for looking at all attorneys’ fixed fees, levels of efficiency, overlaps and other arrangements to get a better handle on legal fees.

“Because here we are again with the market taking a crapper, if you will,” Phelan said. “Times are tough. They are tough for people doing business. This is a good practice to go back and get the best bang for our buck.”

Village Manager Larry Deetjen asked Phelan for clarification: “Are you referring to the village prosecutor, the village adjudicator, the village general counsel …”

“Anybody who has a law degree who does business with the village,” Phelan said.

Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) who voted against the hiring of Querrey & Harrow, said she was “a big believer in receiving proposals from different firms.”

“I think it’s worthwhile if we’re going to take a breather for a month,” Quinlan said. “Our legal bills are high. It never hurts.”

Olejniczak said Quinlan wasn’t being fair.

“I don’t think it’s fair because the information I’ve been provided is that our legal bills have actually decreased,” Olejniczak said.

“I’m saying it’s for the special stuff too, Alex,” Quinlan said.

Mayor Dave Heilmann gaveled the discussion over with.

“Let’s move on,” he said. “We’re past the discussion on this. The motion is tabled.”

Asked after the meeting what his “concerns” were, Olejniczak replied, “I have some questions that the village manager was supposed to provide information on.”  

On a separate note, the village board met for 15 minutes in executive session before the start of the regular village board meeting last Tuesday to discuss pending litigation against the village.

gvlbtahr August 15, 2011 at 11:40 AM
Congrats Dave on using your gavel for the 1st time.
Ron Williams August 15, 2011 at 01:50 PM
It seems to me that any fiscally responsible government would entertain bids for ALL expiring contracts awarded, it helps in holding contractors accountable and keeps them working hard to retain our business. I am concerned about the last statement in the article,"the village board met for 15 minutes in executive session before the start of the regular village board meeting last Tuesday to discuss pending litigation against the village". Can you reveal what the pending litigation or litigation's against the village are?
treetop August 15, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Tommy Phelan - Do you have a personal relationship with Mike Stillman? Answer: I Don't socialize with him. Do you have a relationship with Godfrey and Kahn? Answer: I don't socialize with them Conclusion: Phelan is socially disfuctional.
James Peschel August 16, 2011 at 04:08 AM
In light of the numerous allegations against the law firms that have been used; it would be wise to have bids sent out to law firms for new coverage. Unfortunately, with the current rift of the board and previous discussions, for the previous legal teams hired, it would be wise to have non-partisian people involved with the review. This may elimate the current problems that seem to rise for any legal team being hired especially when it turns out that friends or people that are known by the trustees would be hired. This would be especially true as you are currently looking for a replacement for Mr. Huerkes. Jim Peschel
D.B. Cooper August 24, 2011 at 07:49 PM
“I’d like to make a motion to table because I’ve had many concerns brought to our village manager’s attention and I’m waiting for replies on that,” Trustee Alex Olejniczak (Dist. 2) said. “Until I get the replies, I’d like to table that.” Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) who voted against the hiring of Querrey & Harrow, said she was “a big believer in receiving proposals from different firms.” “I think it’s worthwhile if we’re going to take a breather for a month,” Quinlan said. “Our legal bills are high. It never hurts.” Olejniczak said Quinlan wasn’t being fair. “I don’t think it’s fair because the information I’ve been provided is that our legal bills have actually decreased,” Olejniczak said. ALEX YOUR A JOKE.

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