Former city solicitor transitions to special counsel

by Judy Stringer

April 18 city council meeting

Former city solicitor Marshal Pitchford will act as Hudson’s special counsel, following an agreement signed between Pitchford’s law firm DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder, and the city of Hudson.

The city will pay Pitchford and his team $200 per hour for legal services including counsel on legislation, notices, contracts, opinions and land development codes as needed, according to the contract. The agreement extends through December 2024 and will automatically renew, unless modified or terminated by either party.

Board member Nicole Kowalski abstained from voting on the special counsel contract, which passed with five of the other council members’ support. Ward 4 Representative Scott Ruffer was not in attendance.   

Kowalski cited Pitchford’s role as solicitor during a Dec. 6 meeting, when she was censured by Hudson City Council, and his defense of the city as part of a lawsuit she filed to appeal the censure, as reasons for abstaining. John Kolesar replaced Pitchford as in-house city solicitor in March.

During the April 11 council workshop, Kowalski said a few residents asked her why the special counsel contract was not bid. City Manager Thom Sheridan said the city is not required to get multiple bids for professional services, but he would be “happy to do that” at council’s request. Other council members, however, noted Pitchford’s experience with the city and said they did not want to delay the appointment.

Council also voted to hire Perspectus Architecture for design of a new clubhouse at Ellsworth Meadows Golf Course. The contract covers $218,800 worth of design expenses, including geotechnical and environmental reports. The design and bidding for the project is expected to be complete this year, the resolution stated, with plans for construction in 2024.

Sheridan, also at the April 11 workshop, explained that the Perspectus agreement relates primarily to constructing a clubhouse at a new site on the golf course property. His team is also pricing the cost of renovations at the current clubhouse as an alternative. New clubhouse construction is estimated at $1.4 million.

“We [would] borrow $1.4 million for constructing a building basically and then the golf course would have additional debt service that they would pay for themselves,” explained Assistant City Manager Jeff Knoblauch. “So, it’s all self-funded within the golf course.” ∞