Membership Spotlight

 Garry E. Hunter

Garry E. Hunter Ohio Municipal League and Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association General Counsel Garry Hunter has been recertified as a local government fellow. With this re-certification, Garry will be a local government fellow for twenty years. There are less than 125 Local Government fellows in the United States and Canada. The prestigious IMLA Local Government Fellows Program was established to recognize attorneys as legal specialists in the field of local government law and to encourage attorney proficiency and competency in the local government legal field. To be designated a Local Government Fellow, the applicant must have been engaged in the practice of law in the United States or Canada. The applicant must demonstrate substantial involvement in the practice of local government law during the three (3) years immediately preceding the date of application. Substantial involvement means the applicant has devoted 40 percent or more of the applicant’s practice to matters in which issues of local government law are significant factors and in which the applicant has had substantial and direct participation in those issues. An applicant must furnish information concerning the frequency of the applicant’s work and the nature of the issues involved. The applicant shall submit as references five (5) lawyers who are familiar with the applicant’s practice and who can attest to the applicant’s reputation for special competence and substantial involvement in the field of local government law. The applicant must demonstrate that during the two (2) year period immediately preceding the date of application, the applicant has completed twelve (12) hours of continuing legal education in the area of local government law (for U.S. Applicants, six (6) hours on national issues. The applicant must pass a written examination, uniformly administered to all applicants, designed to demonstrate sufficient knowledge, skills, and proficiency in the field of local government law to justify the representation of special competence to the legal profession and the public. The examination shall be comprised of two parts. The first part requires the applicant to provide written responses to a predetermined number of hypothetical fact-patterns prepared by members of the Local Government Fellows Examination Subcommittee. The second part requires the applicant to prepare and submit an original article for publication in the Municipal Lawyer magazine or a substantive paper suitable for presentation at an IMLA seminar or conference. Lisa Eliason, Athens City Law Director said of Garry’s re-certification, “Garry is very deserving of this honor after having served as a local government attorney for forty years." Steve Wolf, former Law Director for Mt. Healthy and President of American Legal Publishing said, “Congratulations Garry for once again being designated a Fellow by the International Municipal Lawyers Association. You will now continue to rank among the elite practitioners of municipal law for 20 consecutive years! Ohio municipalities are proud and lucky to have you as a municipal resource.”

 Richard Benson

 Richard R. Benson, Jr. has served as Wooster’s law director since July 1, 1990. He’ll be retiring at the end of August after 26 years in office. A native of Wooster, Dick is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law of Cleveland State University. He was appointed director of law by Mayor J. Clyde Breneman, and now, four mayors later, he serves under Mayor Bob Breneman, the son of the mayor who first appointed him to office. Prior to his appointment Dick served as an assistant prosecutor in the office of the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney. Prior to that he served as an assistant prosecutor in Holmes County. He was admitted to the practice of law before the Supreme Court of Ohio in 1982. For the past 25 years Dick has been married to Tina, and together they share four terrific children and one beautiful granddaughter. In early September he will be joining his wife at their new home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, from which they will proudly fly the flag of Buckeye Nation!

Margaret Anne Cannon

 Margaret Anne Cannon is currently "of counsel" with the Cleveland-based law firm of Walter/Haverfield LLP after serving as a partner in Walter/Haverfield's Public Law Practice Group and as a partner at the law firms of Schottenstein, Zox and Dunn; Taft Stettinius & Hollister; and Kelley McCann, all at which she focused her practice on a variety of public sector matters including municipal, school, and public/private sector partnerships. She was appointed by former Governor Taft to serve on the Legislative Task Force to Study Eminent Domain and has been a longtime member of the Northeast Ohio Law Directors Association and the Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association. Margaret most recently served as Law Director for the Village of Gates Mills and the Village of Moreland Hills from which she retired at the end of 2015. She also served for more than 18 years as Law Director for the City of Beachwood and for more than 20 years as the Law Director for the City of Shaker Heights.

 John Gibbon

 John Gibbon retired from the Cleveland based law firm of Walter|Haverfield effective July 1, 2016. John passed the bar in 1972. He was an active member of OMAA for many years and a frequent presenter at OMAA meetings.
John served as law director for the City of Cleveland Heights for 28 years and was law director for the City of Aurora for 6 years. During his career he represented
numerous Ohio communities as special counsel on miscellaneous municipal issues. Telecommunications Law was of particular interest to John. He assisted
communities throughout Ohio with cable television rate regulation and franchise negotiations.

Donald Icsman

Donald C. Icsman retired on March 1, 2016, after serving as the City of Sandusky’s Law Director for 19 plus years.  Mr. Icsman was born and raised in the City of Sandusky and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1980.  Mr. Icsman served in many capacities for the City of Sandusky after being hired in 1984 as a Civil Assistant. He was promoted to City Prosecutor and served as Criminal and Civil Magistrate in Municipal Court before being hired as the Law Director on January 1, 1998. During his tenure as Law Director he was appointed Acting City Manager and served in both capacities from November of 2009 to December of 2011. He occupied both positions again for several months during 2014.  Mr. Icsman served the City selflessly for 32 years with exemplary leadership, wisdom, dedication, outstanding work ethic, compassion and professionalism and is looking forward to the future practice of law build upon the same dedication, discipline, and passion.

Ken Kraus

Ken Kraus was the first in-house Law Director for the City of Strongsville, retiring from that position on March 1, 2016 after some 14 years. Previously he had an extensive private practice and was part-time Assistant Law Director and Special Counsel for Beachwood. Earlier in his career, Ken had served as an Assistant US Attorney and a Federal Law Clerk. He was appointed by the Ohio Supreme Court to Chair its Board on the Unauthorized Practice of Law during 2010-11. He also served as President of the Cuyahoga Law Directors Association; and had been a Trustee of the then Cleveland Bar Association and Co-Chairman of its first Symposium on Ethics and Professionalism. Ken received his BA and JD degrees from the University of Michigan. He has lectured on ethics and professional responsibility at Cleveland Marshall College of Law, and occasionally to attorneys at various land use seminars. Recently he was appointed and currently serves as part-time Magistrate of the Strongsville Mayor’s Court.

jim walters

James N. Walters served as the Law Director for the City of Berea under three different administrations. He also served as an At-Large Representative to Berea City Council from January 2001 to January 2008. He has operated a law practice in the city for many years and has been active in the Berea Chamber of Commerce as a strong advocate for local businesses. He is a dedicated parishioner at the United Methodist Church of Berea, has served as the President of the Berea Rotary Club, has volunteered with the Berea Arts Fest and the Berea High School Swim Team, has been active in the Jaycees, and has emceed City Parades and Mayoral Inaugurations. Mr. Walters also raised funds for The Gathering Place, an organization that offers free programs and services to cancer patients and their families. Mr. Walters’ dedication to his community earned him the 2015 Grindstone Award from the Berea Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen Wolf

Stephen Wolf retired December 31, 2015 after 24 years as Director of Law for the City of Mt. Healthy. He also served 8 years as Mayor and 2 years on City Council for Mt. Healthy.
Steve is also President of American Legal Publishing Corporation, where he has been employed for 37 years, working with over 2000 municipal and county clients including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Cleveland. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Education Foundation of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks for 15 years.