There won’t be many items on the agenda for the new Brookfield village board after trustees are sworn in on May 9. But Michael Garvey will make one change immediately upon becoming the new village president. He’ll appoint new legal representation for the village.
Odelson & Sterk, which has been Brookfield’s municipal law firm since mid-2003, will be replaced by Storino, Ramello & Durkin. The firm, which specializes in state and local government law, represented the village previous to 2001.
According to Garvey, the village’s actual attorney from the firm will be partner Rich Ramello, who according to the firm’s Web site, has represented the villages of Elmwood Park, Franklin Park, Glendale Heights, Brookfield, Rosemont, South Barrington, Hanover Park and Streamwood in litigation, arbitration and in administrative hearings.
Ramello was Brookfield’s village attorney from 1993 to 2001, and also advised Brookfield’s Zoning Board of Appeals during drafting and adoption of the comprehensive amendments to its zoning ordinances.
The firm also has a tie to Garvey’s PEP Party, which is still paying off a $30,000 legal bill the party incurred during a legal battle with the Village of Brookfield over a petition in 2002. PEP was successful in its effort to put a bond issue to a vote by residents.
Garvey said, however, that hiring the firm has nothing to do with any political connection, and that the PEP Party continues to pay off that 2002 legal debt.
“I based my decision on my previous experience with them representing the village, and their general reputation in the legal community,” said Garvey, who is a lawyer. “They do great legal work.”
Another attraction, according to Garvey is that they are “a full service law” firm, which can represent the village in labor union contract matters and ordinance prosecution. As a result, Garvey said he would cut down on the number of other attorneys representing the village on matters relating to everything from blight adjudication to prosecuting ordinance violations.
The firm of Hartigan & Cuisinier currently prosecutes ordinance violations for the village, while Michael Woodward has served as the village’s blight adjudicator since the fall of 2003. Both contributed to the presidential campaign of Bill Russ, whom Garvey defeated in the April 5 election. Russ’ top contributor was Odelson & Sterk, which gave over $11,000 to Russ’ and his party’s campaign funds.
“One of the reasons I chose Storino is that I wanted their knowledge in all areas,” Garvey said.