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Council keeps firm as city attorney
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MONROE - City council members decided the long-standing tradition of Voegeli, Ewald & Bartholf Law Offices, S.C. was the better choice for city attorney.

On Tuesday, the Monroe Common Council voted 5 to 4 in favor of the law firm over Kittelsen, Barry, Wellington, Thompson and Schluesche, S.C.

During its May 19 meeting, council members heard presentations from both firms. Todd Schluesche represented the Kittelsen firm, saying that nearly two decades of experience in municipal law and extensive dedication to Monroe by his fellow lawyers made Kittelsen the best choice. Dan Bartholf stood for the law firm currently serving as city attorney. He said his predecessor with Voegeli law firm, Rex Ewald, had served the city for more than two decades and that both he and Craig Nolen would carry on the tradition with an easy transition.

Following each side's presentation, aldermen asked to hold off on the decision and requested that city administration, including City Administrator Phil Rath, the assistant city administrator and the chief of police evaluate both law firms.

Both firms were allowed two minutes of discussion on Tuesday before the firm made their ultimate choice, with Schluesche, Amanda Fields and Scott Jacobson citing their firm's efficiency, resources and easy access to legal files. Schluesche said the firm would even install a secure, virtual private network for city officials to have access to the information at all times.

Bartholf highlighted the history in place between Voegeli and the city.

"We would like to continue in the same tradition Rex has carried on for 28 years," Bartholf said.

Alderwoman Brooke Bauman, who voted in favor of Bartholf and Nolen, said during discussion that the scorecard provided through administrative evaluation was not effective because the numbers were split in half between the two firms. There would also be new people with both sets of lawyers since Kittelsen would be a new firm for the city while Ewald is soon to retire and Nolen would leave the law firm if elected Green County district attorney, a position that will be decided in the fall election.

Council members also decided a contract with the chosen firm should be from two to five years. Aldermen Reid Stangel moved to hire the Voegeli law firm. Aldermen Tom Miller, Richard Thoman and Jeff Newcomer joined Bauman in voting for the firm, while Michael Boyce, Chris Beer, Charles Koch and Ron Marsh voted against the motion.