Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch made a good choice by selecting Assistant Law Director Stuart O'Hara to replace the departing Jim Conway.
Conway has done his job well and deserves credit for his work. He served as the city's point man during the difficult and lengthy negotiations with grocer Aldi for a strip of land that will become part of the Cline Street extension project this summer. Conway also helped to save the city money and tension by conducting in-house contract negotiations with the fire and police departments. Conway has consistently given good, sound legal advice to the city and often served as a voice of reason during otherwise contentious discussions.
Conway's experience, skills and sense of fairness will serve him well on the bench as he takes over for retiring Huron County Common Pleas Judge Earl McGimpsey in May. We wish Conway luck as he works through the intensive training required before he dons the black robes.
But Conway's success as law director did not happen in a vacuum. He said he benefited from the advice and experience of O'Hara, who has served as assistant since 2002 before Conway was appointed law director. Conway said many of O'Hara suggestions were eventually put in place by the Norwalk City Council.
Lesch described O'Hara as a man of great integrity who posses a vast knowledge of criminal and civil law. In addition, being a part of the city administration should help O'Hara make the transition as smooth as possible for all involved.
We applaud O'Hara for stepping up and taking on the role. Law director while well compensated financially at more than $75,000 per year can often be a thankless job. And, in Norwalk anyway, the role has been a political appointment tied to the mayor, unlike the assistant position.
As the city continues to expand, the administration will be faced with difficult decisions and complex legal issues, and we're glad a man such as Stuart O'Hara will be helping guide the city on the long, winding path ahead.