Thursday, June 27, 2002

Lemmie names new city solicitor

By Gregory Korte,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        City Manager Valerie Lemmie found Cincinnati's next city solicitor the same place she's found many of her top staffers — and where Mayor Charlie Luken found her.

        Dayton Law Director Julia “Rita” McNeil will succeed Fay Dupuis Aug. 15 as the city's top lawyer, Ms. Lemmie told City Council Wednesday.

        There was never much doubt about Ms. McNeil's appointment. She was the only candidate seriously considered for the job.

        In choosing to look outside of Cincinnati, Ms. Lemmie bucked a long-standing tradition in which most solicitors have come from within the Law Department and serve for a decade or more. Ms. McNeil, 38, will become the eighth solicitor the city has had since the passage of the city charter in 1925.

        “I looked to the outside for the same reason I was asked to come from the outside,” said Ms. Lemmie, the former Dayton city manager who took office in Cincinnati April 2. “I wanted to bring in outside energy and experience and determination, to work with the existing culture and staff.”

        Before Ms. Lemmie hired her to head Dayton's law department in 1998, Ms. McNeil was chief of the Civil Rights Division for Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery.

        Her career has also included stints as counsel for former Ohio Gov. George Voinovich, the Ohio Department of Commerce, and two prominent Columbus law firms.

        Ms. Lemmie announced the appointment as part of a series of moves that she said “continues the process of developing our leadership team.” Other appointments announced Wednesday include:

        • Real Estate Manager Scott C. Stiles will become assistant to the city manager.

        • Chris Eilerman, an aide to Councilman Pat DeWine, will become an administrative specialist in the manager's office.

        • Alicia Townsend, director of the Greater Cincinnati Microenterprise Initiative, will head the new Small Business Division in the Department of Community Development.


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