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North Ridgeville hires new law director after Andrew Crites resigns

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE — After 14 years on the job, Andrew Crites recently resigned as law director for the city.

Crites said the decision to resign, which was effective Dec. 31, was “the fruition of a longtime plan” with his wife to move to Montana to be closer to their daughter, who attends school there. Crites said his wife recently retired from teaching in the Rocky River school district after 30 years.

The former law director said he has been admitted on motion with reciprocity to the State Bar of Montana. He plans to begin practicing law there after he and his wife complete the moving process.

“I’m still licensed to practice in the state of Ohio,” he said. “I still expect to be representing (North Ridgeville) on select matters on a consulting basis only, namely projects that were pending and open while I was there. I’ll also be helping the mayor and new law director in the transition.”

Gillock said it’s been “terrific” working with Crites over the past 14 years, but said the partnership between the two had a rather “auspicious” beginning.

“When I (became mayor), I didn’t know any attorneys,” Gillock said. “I went to (former Lorain County Prosecutor) Jeff Manning, and he said he knew a young guy that would be a good fit. He also said he’d help train him, because he had an office right down the street.”

But shortly after Gillock hired Crites as the city’s law director, Manning passed away.

“Andy and I were kind of learning from each other with on-the-job training,” Gillock said. “I had four years prior on City Council, so I had a little experience, but it was the blind-leading-the-blind there for a little bit.”

Gillock said Crites settled into his role and really learned the ins and outs of municipal law and called him a “gem and a great guy to work with.”

The city has hired Brian Moriarty to replace Crites as the law director. Moriarty served as the city’s prosecutor in mayor’s court before becoming magistrate around six years ago, according to Crites.

Gillock said he interviewed nearly 10 attorneys before tapping Moriarty as the new law director.

“Once we put him in as law director, we then hired Allison Manning, the daughter of the guy who started this whole thing, as our magistrate,” Gillock said. “She’s a magistrate in Elyria now, so she’s experienced and a local resident. We kind of went full circle.”

Crites said the decision to resign wasn’t sudden, and he gave Gillock and City Council his departure plan well in advance.

“I’m really proud of the time I spent there with Mayor Dave,” Crites said over the phone from Montana. “I think he’s done some great stuff for the city. I’m happy to see it keep rolling, and I hope it does for his remaining two years. It’s been an honor.”

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.

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