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By Bill Vidonic
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
 

Butler County commissioners are searching for a solicitor to replace Julie Graham, whose last day in office is Dec. 31.

Commissioners last week voted 2-1 to form a committee to find a successor. Four people had applied for the job as of Tuesday.

Graham's official retirement date is Feb. 8 because she has vacation days to use.

The solicitor advises commissioners and other government officials on legal matters, and often handles or helps with contract negotiations.

Commissioner James Eckstein, the lone Democrat on the three-commissioner board, complained that he wasn't represented on the committee, and that someone with a legal background should be on it.

He asked commissioners Bill McCarrier and A. Dale Pinkerton to allow his administrative assistant, Margaret Abersold, who is a lawyer, to be on the committee, but McCarrier said no.

McCarrier and Pinkerton, both Republicans, voted to appoint Graham, chief clerk Amy Wilson, retired chief clerk Bill O'Donnell and county personnel director Lori Altman to the committee.

Eckstein said Altman wouldn't represent his views because, “She's suing me in court.”

Altman, her husband, state police Trooper Scott Altman and Pinkerton sued Eckstein for defamation, saying that he spread a false story that Pinkerton gave Lori Altman a raise because her husband intervened in a drunken driving incident with Pinkerton. State police said no incident ever happened.

McCarrier said O'Donnell, a Democrat, would be a good representative for Eckstein's party, and that the committee would represent all three commissioners.

McCarrier said Eckstein will be permitted to attend the meetings, but said that he couldn't speak during them unless the committee allowed him to do so.

The committee will choose a candidate and forward the name to commissioners for a vote.

Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or bvidonic@tribweb.com.

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