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Henning terminates contract with city

Stark County States Attorney Tom Henning has terminated his agreement with the city of Dickinson to provide prosecution services. This termination is effective Dec. 31.

City Administrator Shawn Kessel said the city utilizes prosecution services through the states attorney office.

In discussions with Kessel, the states attorney office would provide further services beyond 2011, but would like a contract of $42,000 per year.

Henning currently receives a little over $20,000 a year, Kessel said.

Kessel added he is not sure if what Henning is asking for is fair or reasonable because he has not done the research to see what others in positions similar to Henning's are being paid.

"It may very well be within reason," Kessel said.

Henning said the states attorney office has been providing services for about two decades and there has only been one increase in that time.

"It's really about not having the contract reviewed for a long time and things have gotten more expensive," Henning said. "We perform a service, it has a value and the recipient should pay that value."

At the July 11 City Commission meeting, Kessel said, "It might be in the city's best interest to seek out another attorney at a lesser rate."

At the meeting, Mayor Dennis Johnson said discussion should be had in regards to hiring a full-time attorney for the city.

"This could be reviewed soon, as the budget season is coming quickly," Johnson added.

City Commissioner Gene Jackson agreed any analysis would have to include a city attorney on staff, but to take into consideration the staff attorney may need outside resources at certain times.

City Commissioner Klayton Oltmanns said he does not want to create one more overloaded position.

He added while this option is appealing he does not want to overload this person with work.

City Commissioner Joe Frenzel said this option should be researched.

Johnson said an additional administrative staff with legal support would need to be added to the staff. Johnson would like to see this reviewed.