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Published: Wednesday, 12/11/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Sylvania changes its legal work, expects to save $100,000 a year

BY NATALIE TRUSSO CAFARELLO
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jim Moan, Sylvania's law director, is stopping down and the city is changing how it handles it legal work. Jim Moan, Sylvania's law director, is stopping down and the city is changing how it handles it legal work.
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Legal work for the city of Sylvania will change, with the law director position changed from part-time to full-time and the creation of special counsel position.

City officials say the new approach will save money. Legal expenses should be $144,000 a year under the new system, compared with $260,000 under the old approach.

Jim Moan has served as the city law director but he is stepping down and Leslie Brinning, who has been an assistant law director, will become the new full-time law director. Mr. Moan, though, might serve as the part-time special counsel on economic development projects.

“Toby Schroyer [city finance director] strongly recommended that the law director work in house and it will save us money,” Mayor Craig Stough said.

Mr. Moan, announced his resignation in October after being the city's law director for 17 years. In the part-time position, he received $98,567 a year in pay for up to 55 hours of legal work each month. Anything above 55 hours was billed extra at a rate of $150.86 an hour, which amounted to $32,000 in 2012.

Ms. Brinning, who has done legal work for the city as a contract worker, was paid $139,000 in 2012, but her salary as a full-time law director starting Jan. 1 will be 90,000 a year.

Her responsibilities will include reviewing contracts, drafting ordinances, advising the mayor, and attending city committee and council meetings and providing legal advise. Mr. Moan, who has assisted on economic development project in the past, is considered a top candidate for a new, part-time city special counsel position which will pay $54,000 annually.

“It is in the city’s best interest to keep Jim’s institutional knowledge and economical development experience working for the City of Sylvania,” Mayor Craig Stough said.

The position, expected to be filled in March, will include duties to fill in as the city's law director when that person is absent.

“There is a strong interest with Jim working on economic development," said Bill Sanford, the city's economic development director  "He is a strong player with that and we want to continue to tap that expertise.”

Mr. Sanford named several development projects he hopes to continue working with Mr. Moan on next year, including Starlite Plaza, recently purchased by ProMedica.

Mr. Moan, 67, decided to resign as law director because he wanted to scale down his responsibilities, including in his private practice. He is “considering” the special counsel position.

Other nearby cities have made the decision to place the law director on the city’s payroll, including Maumee in February. The City of Perrysburg made the transition at least eight years ago, said Perrysburg Law Director Mathew Beredo. He is paid between $77,500, and 97,000 annually.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.



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