GREEN  Green residents will do something they have never done in the city’s history, elect a law director.

The law director position previously was appointed by the mayor until Issue 14, a charter amendment, passed last November to make the position elected.

Issue 14, which was a controversial issue in the community, only passed by 26 votes following a recount.

Running for the position are Lisa Dean and Stephen Pruneski.

Pruneski worked under former mayors Dick Norton and Dan Croghan before he resigned in March 2016. His current practices involve work with two large public utilities, one of the largest hospital organizations in the world and numerous other small and large businesses.

Dean currently works for a private practice as a trial attorney.


How does the role of law director change from being appointed to being elected

Having an elected law director who must reside in the city of Green will certainly change the role. In the past, the (non-resident) appointed law director was not only sheltered from the impact of the legal decisions but also not held directly accountable by his/her own community. While the appointed law director would naturally be influenced by the persons responsible for the appointment to employment, the elected law director knows that success in office will be measured by the citizens of Green.

For this reason, the elected law director will be more engaged in the community (so that he/she can be elected or re-elected), whereas an appointed law director would have no reason to engage the community beyond council meetings. As a resident of Green, the elected law director will also face many of the same issues experienced in our various neighborhoods. The appointed law director living in another community may not share these experiences at all. So, with the elected position, comes a depth of understanding and a new perspective that will serve our city well.

What are some areas you feel you could improve when it comes to legal representation for the city

I believe that I can improve the legal representation for our city with my extensive and diverse legal experience. If I am the first elected law director, I would be keenly aware that my advice and recommendations will be setting precedence for the future of Green. For this reason, I believe it is particularly important for the elected law director to communicate and educate the public of the legal decisions being made on behalf of the city of Green. Currently, it is not necessarily the duty of the appointed law director to engage and connect with the residents of our community. But, on Nov. 5, our citizens will have the choice for the first time ever to elect a law director and change that.

Our city has been troubled over the past few years by reports of scandal, accusations of dishonesty, and speculations of abuse of power. I believe the elected law director should take the responsibility to communicate and educate our citizens to avoid further confusion, rumors and mistrust. I’m a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience and training in mediation from the Ohio Supreme Court to handle such intense conflict and my first priority would be to unite us by refocusing our energies on protecting our city and its citizens. If I am the first elected law director, I want to rebuild our community’s trust and confidence in our local government.


How does the role of law director change from being appointed to being elected

On a day to day basis, the role of the Law Director will not change significantly. As the city’s law director for 16 years, I am uniquely aware of the role. The duties will still entail drafting and approving all legislation; reviewing, approving and responding to public record requests; negotiating, reviewing, editing and approving contracts involving the city; providing legal advice to the administration and staff; pursuing and litigating zoning violations; and defending the city against any lawsuits filed against it.

With the position now an elected office, I see transparency as a key component. I vow to communicate often and freely with the residents. When able, I believe it is beneficial for the law director to publicize the work the office does regarding the city.

What are some areas you feel you could improve when it comes to legal representation for the city

I would improve communication regarding the daily and substantive work of the law director. For example, when sensitive legal issues are discussed, the law director can disclose the discussions occurred even if unable to disclose the substance of the discussions. These additional communications should better help the public understand the work of the law director as well as the role the law director plays in the consideration, debate, and resolution of an issue or dispute. My prior experience working in all of these areas render me the most qualified person to understand and communicate the work of the office without compromising the law director’s ethical duties of confidentiality to his client.