Government

Lansdale Councilwoman Erroneously Requests to Change Solicitor

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LANSDALE, Pa. - Some Lansdale Borough council members are sure persistent—and they really, really want to change the solicitor.

In fact, a cabal on council is been trying since January's reorganization meeting to usurp Wisler Pearlstine as solicitor and vote in Lansdale Democratic Committee and Friends of Lansdale contributer Sean Kilkenny and his firm of Friedman, Schuman, Applebaum, Nemeroff & Kilkenny, P.C., of Jenkintown.

And each time, they are met with resistance from other councilmembers, some alleging political cronyism.

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According to The Reporter, at the end of a special meeting Wednesday, Democratic Councilwoman Liz Troy surprised council with a motion to "terminate the RFQ process initiated by council" and immediately requested Friedman Schuman be solicitor. 

Republican Tom Work seconded the motion.

Work was not present at the March 19 meeting where council voted to initiate the RFQ process for a new solicitor. Republican Mayor Andy Szekely broke the tie vote in favor of the RFQ process, due to Work's absence.

At that same meeting, solicitor Mark Hosterman said his firm would apply for the RFQ and consider reworking fees.

It turned out Wednesday night, that Troy, Work and President Jack Hansen weren't aware of the rules of council, specifically as it relates to special meetings. 

According to The Reporter, solicitor Joe Clement, of Wisler Pearlstine, revealed their error—council can only vote on what was advertised to the public.

"You cannot conduct new business at a special meeting," Clement said.

Councilman Jason Van Dame had one question for Hansen, according to The Reporter: "Didn't Sean (Kilkenny) tell you that?"

Troy, per the report, doesn't like the council etiquette of contacting the solicitor through borough Manager Timi Kirchner. She doesn't want to "filter anything through the borough manager" and wants to have a "relaxed" working relationship with Kilkenny.

Read more here.

Kilkenny is somewhat of a zoning and land development law whiz kid who has solicitor representation in some prestigious municipalities: Whitemarsh Township, Norristown Borough, East Norriton Township, Jenkintown Borough, Phoenixville Borough and Morrisville Borough. He is also solicitor for the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority, and, according to his bio, special tax counsel for Allentown and Upper Merion Township.

Kilkenny is also a lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General's Corp for the U.S. Army. According to LinkedIn, he has been serving for 15 years, and served active duty here and overseas.

He did another thing for Whitemarsh Township: He helped preserve the 140 acres to create Erdenheim Farms.

Yet, as Councilwoman Mary Fuller had previously pointed out, Friedman, Schuman, Applebaum, Nemeroff & Kilkenny, P.C., does not appear on U.S. News and World Report's 2014 Best Law Firms list. 

She said that current solicitor Wisler Pearlstine, however, was ranked Tier One in the Philadelphia region for municipal law in U.S. News and World Report's 2014 Best Law Firms list. Wisler Pearlstine, she added, was chosen for its "apoliticalism" and bipartisanship by council in 2010.

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