County Council taps new attorney

Lawyer with Portage-based firm replaces 33-year veteran

by Bob Kasarda, NWI Times – Jan. 6, 2009

VALPARAISO | The Porter County Council unanimously agreed Monday evening to appoint attorney Scott McClure to replace the group’s longtime legal counsel, David Hollenbeck.

The council carried out the move without comment. Some had predicted the appointment after Democrats gained all but one seat on the seven-member council.

McClure is a member of the Portage-based Rhame & Elwood law firm, which quickly is gaining prominence among the few firms representing governmental entities across the county.

The eight-member firm, which also has an office in Valparaiso, last year became the primary attorneys for the city of Portage through incoming Democratic Mayor Olga Velazquez.

The firm had been representing the city’s Police Merit Board, Plan Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.

Rhame & Elwood also represents the county Plan Commission and BZA and had represented the Portage Township Board and the town of New Chicago, attorney Ken Elwood said.

The lone Republican County Council member, Karen Conover, joined the unanimous vote of support for the law firm Monday evening.

Hollenbeck announced early last month he would not be seeking reappointment as council attorney after 33 years of service.

Hollenbeck, who has worked with 50 different council members in his tenure, said change is inevitable and it is important to realize when it involves oneself.

The council also agreed during its reorganization meeting Monday to move back its regular meetings from 6:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 27.

The group also voted to retain Bob Poparad as president and to name Conover as vice president.