City of Marquette hires attorney
Suzanne Larsen to provide in-house legal services to city
MARQUETTE — The city of Marquette has officially hired Suzanne Larsen as its attorney.
After a unanimous vote to move city attorney services in-house at Monday night’s Marquette City Commission meeting, the commission made another unanimous decision to appoint Larsen to the position. Larsen has provided legal services to the city since Jan. 1 through Kendricks, Bordeau, Keefe, Seavoy & Larsen, PC, which had provided legal services to the city for roughly 16 years. Larsen took over for former city attorney Ron Keefe, who retired at the end of 2020.
The idea of bringing city attorney services in-house was first brought up at the Oct. 12 city commission meeting. At that time, a subcommittee comprised of three city commissioners appointed by Mayor Jenna Smith was created to study the matter further.
Bringing legal services in-house will help cut costs and meet the growing needs of the city for legal services, city documents state. With the move, the city will save an estimated $50,000 annually.
Larsen was admitted to the State Bar of Michigan in 1997 after earning her law degree at Wayne State University.
Personally, the move is an uncharted one for Larsen, who’s held just one job throughout the entirety of her adult life, as she noted at Monday’s meeting.
“This is a little bit weird for me because I have had exactly one real job in my entire life and it has been at the firm (Kendricks, Bordeau, Keefe, Seavoy & Larsen, PC),” she said. “While the firm is aware that this has been a discussion and I’ve been having discussions with them that this might happen and they’re very supportive of that, literally I have been doing one job since I was 25, and it’s a very weird feeling to think about having a different employer. But I look forward to it.”
Larsen’s initial term is recommended to begin Jan. 1 and go through Sept. 30. Larsen’s recommended contract entails a salary of $115,000 per year, a $50,000 term life insurance policy and the same fringe benefit package as city department heads.
The subcommittee will reconvene to go over the contract details one final time.
Smith thanked Larsen for the work she’s done for the city so far.
“I just wanted to add that pending the negotiation of the contract, which I anticipate should go OK, we really appreciate everything you have done and continue to do for us,” she said. “I look forward to seeing how this can work in a new way moving forward.”
Other commissioners welcomed Larsen aboard as well.
“I want to welcome Suzanne to our staff,” Commissioner Sally Davis said. “Moving to an in-house counsel is a very good decision by the commission. Although it isn’t 100%, I do believe the contract negotiations will go quickly and easily, so I’m really glad to have (Suzanne) on board and (her) expertise that (she has) built up over the many years.”
“Welcome Counselor Larsen to the city of Marquette,” Commissioner Fred Stonehouse added. “We do appreciate your services and look forward to a great relationship.”