City officials are saving at least $20,000 by not using a recruiting firm to find a new city attorney.

City officials are saving at least $20,000 by not using a recruiting firm to find a new city attorney.

City Attorney Richard Appicello submitted his resignation earlier this month, citing health reasons.

Ashland City Council members have appointed Assistant City Attorney Megan Thorntorn to serve as interim city attorney. Councilors also agreed to forego the use of a recruitment firm.

Tina Gray, city of Ashland human resources director, said on Thursday that she is working on a job announcement. She and City Administrator Martha Bennett had recommended to the council that the city conduct a search for a new attorney without using a recruitment firm.

"We make this recommendation because we have a defined labor pool for the City Attorney position, and we believe we know how to reach potential candidates," they said in a memo to councilors.

"If we have a low volume of applicants, then the City Council could either extend the application period or elect to bring a recruiter in. Staff will likely need to get some outside help with the background investigation, but the cost will be significantly less than would generally be charged by a recruitment firm."

In the past, city officials have often used recruiting firms when searching for new city department heads.

Some residents have criticized spending on recruitment firms, which usually charge tens of thousands of dollars, plus expenses.

Bennett said she hopes to have city attorney candidate interviews conducted at the end of February 2011, with a goal of having a city attorney on board in the beginning of April.

Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.