A former North Canton law director has been appointed to serve in that position again – but only on a temporary basis until the city hires its first-ever full-time law director.
During a special meeting Wednesday, Roy H. Batista was appointed to serve as interim law director for up to 61 days. He will be paid $120 per hour for daytime work and $90 an hour for evening meeting attendance.
Council President Jon Snyder said city officials reached out to Batista to fill the gap between , and the hiring of the city’s first full-time attorney.
Batista, a North Canton resident since 1968, served as the city’s law director for more than 25 years, most recently from 2000-2003.
The lawyer, who maintains a practice near Belden Village, said Wednesday he’s more than happy to help the city out. “I’m glad it’s only a couple months. I can’t do too much damage in that time,” Batista said with a laugh.
Snyder said 16 attorneys have applied for the new full-time law post – created to deal with an ever-increasing workload – that was advertised as having an annual salary of $73,000 to $75,000, plus a benefits package valued at about $22,000 a year.
“The part-time law director’s contract called for 80 hours a month, but (he) was exceeding that because of the workload and that’s where the problem was. Over and above the 80 hours he was paid at an hourly rate, and from an economic standpoint we realized we needed someone in there full time,” Snyder explained.
Also, he said, city officials have realized the importance of having a full-time law director at City Hall during business hours to look at contracts and address other legal issues that crop up.
“We have a $44 million corporation, for lack of a better analogy, run by part-time directors that are the mayor and council. We need a full-time attorney to rely on, just as we do our full-time director of administration and full-time director of finance. We trust the integrity and knowledge of these people to run our ‘business’ on a day-to-day basis,” Snyder said.
Council’s personnel and safety committee – comprised of Snyder, Dan Griffith and Chairman Jeff Peters – will begin interviewing applicants starting Aug. 13. By late August, Snyder said, the list should be narrowed down to a handful of applicants that will go through a second round of interviews conducted by full council.
While three of the applicants are city residents, Snyder that’s not a requirement of the job.
“Most important to us is … comprehensive knowledge of municipal law. After that, we’re looking for someone we generally feel wants a future (in North Canton government). We don’t want someone who wants to move on in just two to three years,” he explained.
The applicants are:
- Julie A. Bickis of North Canton
- John L. Juergensen of North Canton
- Donald P. Wiley of North Canton
- Rodney A. Baca of Canton
- Jeffrey L. Hendrix of Canton
- Judith Ann Carlin of Hudson
- William J. Krueger of Hudson
- Dawn M. King of Deerfield
- Todd B. Kotler of Massillon
- James R. Russell Jr. of Medina
- Susan Baker Ross of Mogadore
- Sharon M. Wesselman of Mansfield
- David W. Haverfield of Dover
- Kathryn R. Oliver of Dover
- Stephan P. Babik of Cleveland
- Jack L. Feigenhauer of Nevada, OH