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Longtime City Attorney Resigns in Erlanger Citing Relationship with Mayor

After more than half a century of providing legal services to the City of Erlanger in some capacity, attorney Frank Wichmann submitted his resignation.

He was absent at Tuesday's city council meeting, though his resignation is not official until December 31.

Nearly four years ago, then-newly elected Mayor Tyson Hermes decided to make a change in the role of city attorney, causing controversy early in his term, when he ousted Wichmann from his role.

Afterwards, decisions were made that resulted in two attorneys being present for city council meetings, with one representing the mayor, and Wichmann representing city council.

Wichmann tendered his resignation in a letter dated Nov. 29.

In the letter, Wichmann was critical of Hermes.

"Until your election as Mayor, our services as an attorney for the city were always provided with pride in our city and the personal satisfaction of being involved in some small way with the efficient operation of it, along with some professional satisfaction and personal enjoyment. Since your election, that has not been the case and the future doesn’t look to be any better," Wichmann wrote.

The resignation follows a contentious mayoral campaign in the city. Hermes opted not to seek reelection, instead running for and winning a seat on city council. He supported Councilwoman Jessica Fette for mayor while the overwhelming majority of council members supported Councilman Randy Blankenship. 

Fette won.

"There is simply no personal enjoyment or professional satisfaction in our current work for the city," Wichmann said. "Accordingly, after 52 years of proudly representing the city, it is with great regret that we have concluded that we should and do hereby resign/terminate our two professional service contracts with the city."

City Administrator Matthew Kremer told Wichmann that his presence at Tuesday night's meeting would not be necessary.

Hermes said that following Wichmann's resignation, he and city staff chose to contract with Jack Gatlin of the Gatlin Voelker law firm for all city legal services. Gatlin had been representing Hermes's interests since his election.

"This new contract simplifies responsibilities to our city staff, streamlines the city's legal needs, and increases efficiency," Hermes said in a statement. "We have been pleased with Mr. Gatlin's services, and are looking forward to continuing the relationship."

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Photo: Frank Wichmann (RCN file)