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Holiday Hills trustees ask for own attorney

Published: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 8:05 p.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014 11:44 p.m. CDT

HOLIDAY HILLS – Legal questions and cooperation issues have led some of Holiday Hills' trustees to ask for their own lawyer.

Infighting on the Holiday Hills Village Board took a turn after the suspension and ultimate resignation of the small village's part-time police chief.

"We didn't even realize there was a problem with the chief until [the village president] put him on administrative leave," Trustee Jennifer Keyes said.

Village President Dan Drury placed then-Chief Larry Mason on paid administrative leave for a series of incidents, mostly centered on Mason trying to go around Drury and not doing certain things Drury asked, he said. There were no issues of misconduct.

The day after Mason resigned, Drury had an interim chief ready to go, something that has raised questions of protocol among most of the trustees. Drury also changed the locks at the village offices.

"He trusts us like we're his enemy," Trustee Rich Young said.

Trustee Al Bielsky is the sole trustee siding with Drury on the issues that have come up.

Some of the trustees – Keyes and Young included – approached the village attorney, David McArdle of Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle, about the questions surrounding the interim police chief.

Concerned about billing the village for multiple conversations with different trustees, the attorney approached Drury about having the trustees appoint a spokesman to ask the questions, Drury said.

This wasn't the approach the previous village attorney took, Young said, adding that trustees could call that attorney, James Bateman, with any issues they had and could expect a call back.

Bateman, who resigned shortly before Drury took office in May 2013, is the attorney some of the trustees have proposed being back – or if the village president doesn't agree, hiring to provide separate legal representation for the trustees.

Zukowski, Rogers, Flood & McArdle also is more expensive than Bateman, Keyes said.

Drury isn't opposed to hiring a new legal firm if the board is dissatisfied with the current firm, but he wants the choice to be someone both he and the trustees can work with.

But if the underlying "personal issues" the board has with him can't be resolved, Drury also isn't opposed to getting as much done as he can on his own.

"I don't know if they're going to get over their little temper tantrum, but there's an election coming up," he said. "I think that each little issue is causing people to think about running."

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