County ends outside counsel for internal budget dispute

By on October 17, 2009

KANE COUNTY—Effective Oct. 9, two law firms no longer will represent two Kane County officials in a budget dispute with each other.

Kane County State’s Attorney John Barsanti said the dispute between Kane County Circuit Court Clerk Deb Seyller and the Kane County Board over the Fiscal Year 2009 budget seems to have been resolved. Seyller appears to be on target to finish the fiscal year within her budget, so the attorneys’ services are no longer needed.

“Because it now appears as though the circuit court clerk will not exceed her FY 2009 budget, outside representation is no longer needed,” Barsanti said. “Given this good news, I am exercising my authority to terminate these contracts.”

The lawyers were hired this summer because Seyller believed legal action might be necessary if she exceeded her allotted budget and the County Board followed through with its threat to cut off funding to her office. Seyller in June informed Barsanti that she was considering legal action against the County Board to settle the dispute.

As part of his statutory duties, Barsanti represents county officials in legal matters. But this dispute was between two county officials, so Barsanti couldn’t represent either party because of the inherent conflict.

To resolve the conflict, the Aurora law firm of Mickey, Wilson, Weiler, Renzi & Andersson was hired in mid-July at Seyller’s request to represent Seyller, and Sam Vinson and Claudette Miller of the Chicago law firm of Ungaretti & Harris were hired in early August at the request of the County Board to represent the board.

The county agreed to a $15,000 retainer fee with the Chicago firm, and to date $3,737 has been paid to the Aurora firm. Any additional payments to either firm are not known at this time.