By Sandra Haschemeyer
Mayor Steve Patterson said Monday he has selected the law firm of Bellatti, Fay, Bellatti and Beard of Jacksonville to fill Beardstown’s city attorney vacancy. The recommendation will be presented to the Beardstown City Council for approval at its May meeting.
At a council committee of the whole meeting held April 17, Mayor Patterson sought the input of the council members regarding the position. During that meeting the consensus was to pay a $400 monthly retainer for ordinance work and general issues and $150 per hour for extra services such as litigation. They discussed putting $30,000 in the budget for the position
The mayor said three candidates were interviewed for the position. In addition to Tom Veith, spokesperson for the Bellatti firm, Jon Hurst of the Thomson, McNeely, Crews and Hurst firm of Jacksonville and Luke Thomas of Beardstown were interviewed. However, on Friday Thomas took his name out of the hat for consideration.
Thomas, who was serving as the city attorney, submitted his resignation in March, siting inadequate funds for the amount of work done. He said in a letter that only eight billable hours per month were budgeted for the position.
Patterson said he had approached Thomas and did not want him to resign. Patterson conceded that the city had put a lot on the attorney’s plate.
Thomas has continued to work as city attorney until the vacancy was filled.