New Albany: City law director could be named by end of May

The city of New Albany is closer to choosing its next law director.

City Manager Joseph Stefanov and Adrienne Joly, director of administrative services, are in the process of interviewing the four law firms that responded to requests for proposals for consideration.

New Albany Village Hall, 99 W. Main St.
New Albany Village Hall, 99 W. Main St.

A decision could come by the end of May but definitely within the second quarter, said Scott McAfee, the city's chief communications and marketing officer.

They are Frost Brown Todd, Isaac Wiles, Carlile Patchen & Murphy and Fishel Downey Albrecht & Riepenhoff, where Ben Albrecht, the city's interim law director, is employed.

All are seeking to replace Mitch Banchefsky, who retired in January after 21 years in the role.

His annual contract was for $148,255, which did not include benefits because he was privately employed.

McAfee said the pay scale for the new firm is being negotiated and will be released when a contract is signed.

New Albany is a much different place from the time Banchefsky started advising the city on legal matters. For starters, it was a village and didn't become a city until after the 2010 census.

Now the city's economic engine is humming along, particularly in the New Albany International Business Park, where Intel is planning to invest $20 billion in a microchip-processing facility.

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That means the new law director must be well versed in the sophisticated ways of municipal government, McAfee said.

"The city of New Albany is looking for a broad knowledge of legal issues as they pertain to cities and municipalities – everything from knowledge and application of the Ohio Revised Code to experience with home-rule communities to litigation, right of way, planning and zoning, contracts, development, human resources and utilities," he said.

Banchefsky said the job takes commitment, intellectual dexterity and a commitment to understanding diverse areas of the law.

"It is never dull," he said, "and sometimes you think you've seen it all but you haven't, as something new always comes up."

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The city is not yet committed to making the law director a permanent full-time position, McAfee said.

"We did some initial research on hiring a full-time city attorney, but we still believe hiring a contracted city attorney is the most cost-effective and efficient method for the city of New Albany at this moment in time," he said.


This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: New Albany city law director could be named by end of May