Aurora’s corporation counsel becomes a contract worker

Aurora’s Corporation Counsel Richard Veenstra will continue as head of the city’s legal department, but will no longer be a city employee.

That seemingly disparate situation has been accomplished by making Veenstra a contract worker for the city. The city’s top attorney can work on his own, but will have a contract with the city to continue as corporation counsel.

The arrangement began Nov. 1.

Alex Alexandrou, the city‘s chief management officer, said the arrangement “is no different than any other outside counsel we use.” The city contracts with many outside counsel for many specialized areas such as elections or establishing special districts.

“Rick’s been an outstanding corporation counsel for us,” Alexandrou said. “This is one way to retain his services without disruption.”

Veenstra said the arrangement allows him “more flexibility” professionally.

“But I’m going to stay here,” he said.

The city also has several assistant corporation counsels doing in-house legal work.

One of those, Jessica Kalal, is leaving to pursue private work in family law. She has been in the city since January 2019.

The City Council this week approved her replacement, attorney Patrick J. Collins, as a new assistant corporation counsel.

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