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County Attorney Mekeel resigns as of Nov. 7


October 17, 2012
[DEMOCRAT & Reporter]

COUNTY-ATTY-RESIGNS

315 words

County Attorney Mekeel resigns as of Nov. 7

By Edith Tucker

etucker@salmonpress.com

LANCASTER — Cos County Attorney Robert "Bob" Mekeel sent the county commissioners and county delegation his letter of resignation, effective Nov. 7, the day after Election Day.

"Good riddance," Commissioner Paul Grenier of Berlin muttered when county administrator Sue Collins made the announcement at Wednesday's commissioners' meeting. "He's cost us a lot of money."

Grenier was referring to the case that Mekeel won in 2010 against the commissioners after pleading unsuccessfully with them to allow him to move out of the court house and into downtown offices to alleviate conditions that he argued were "unsuitable" — so jammed that neither he nor other staff could work effectively.

The commissioners lost the case in Superior Court, and Mekeel and his staff moved to the part of the third floor of the former Lancaster National Bank building.

Later the commissioners reimbursed the state Bureau of Court Facilities to have a first-floor suite in the court house, previously occupied by the Register of Probate, reconfigured to accommodate the county attorney and staff, plus their voluminous files. They moved into their new quarters earlier this year.

When he was asked on Friday why he was resigning shortly before finishing his second term, Mekeel replied, "I don't want to take taxpayers' money when I don't want to do the job." He will still be on hand, however, for the next Grand Jury on Oct. 26.

Mekeel indicated that he would take some time to decide what to do next, pointing out that he is 63 years old and has been a trial lawyer for about 35 years.

Current assistant county attorney John McCormick, a Democrat of Lancaster, and Phillip Beiner, a Republican of Berlin, are running against each other to fill the elected position.

The county delegation will likely discuss whether to leave a vacancy or fill it at its next quarterly meeting on Friday, Nov. 2.

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