CH law director will revert to part-time position

At the Sept. 2 Cleveland Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Tanisha Briley announced that Anthony Farris had “resigned his position as law director last Tuesday [Aug. 26],” and that Jim Juliano, who had served as acting law director for the first four months of 2014, “has agreed and we welcome him back to the executive team as acting law director.” Briley also stated that she planned “at a future date to ask council to confirm him as the permanent law director for the City of Cleveland Heights.”

The city released no official statement regarding the circumstances of Farris’ resignation. Asked to comment, Briley said, “Mr. Farris resigned his position and we supported his decision to do so.” She confirmed that Farris’ last day in the office was Aug. 26, and that he would continue to receive his regular salary ($100,000 annually) through Oct. 1.

Briley appointed Anthony Farris as the city’s first full-time law director on April 23, and the appointment was confirmed by a unanimous vote of council members.

According to the Cleveland Heights City Charter, the office of law director may be either a full-time or part-time office. The law director is appointed by the city manager, and the appointment must be approved by a majority of council members. The city manager may remove the law director without the approval of council.

On Dec. 31, 2013, John Gibbon retired after 28 years as CH’s part-time law director. Two weeks prior, on Briley’s recommendation, council had appointed Jim Juliano, who had overseen the city’s civil litigation and legal matters since 1997, interim law director.

The search for a permanent replacement for Gibbon began on Nov. 1, 2013, when the city began accepting law director applications.

On April 11, 2014, the city announced that Farris, former law director for the City of Youngstown, had been selected as the final candidate for the law director position, and that it would be a full-time position. “The decision was made to hire a full-time law director to maximize accessibility, efficiency and consistency for the city,” stated Briley in the announcement.

If city council confirms Briley’s appointment of Juliano as the city’s next permanent law director, the position will revert to being a part-time one. Briley said, “While my preference was for a full-time law director it is more important to have competent and capable leadership in the role. Municipal law is a specialized area with a very limited pool of qualified candidates. Mr. Juliano has served the city well for 17 years as assistant law director, including four months as interim law director earlier this year. He has shown tremendous leadership and he will continue to be a great asset to us.”

Kim Sergio Inglis

Kim Sergio Inglis is editor-in-chief of the Heights Observer. She lives in the Shaker Farm Historic District in Cleveland Heights.

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Volume 7, Issue 10, Posted 10:08 AM, 09.23.2014