Daniel Brotzman of Englewood, Colo., who was hired last month as Grand Island’s next city attorney, informed city officials recently that he will not be taking the job.
In response, Mayor Jeremy Jensen announced on Thursday that he’s recommending Jerry Janulewicz of Grand Island, a former Hall County attorney, to fill the position.
Janulewicz has been a partner at Mayer, Burns, Koenig and Janulewicz in Grand Island since 2004. He was Hall County attorney from 2000 to 2004.
The 54-year-old Brotzman, who has been Englewood’s city attorney for 20 years, was hired to take the Grand Island job on Nov. 10.
Jensen and City Administrator Marlan Ferguson received notice shortly before Christmas that Brotzman would not be taking the Grand Island position. Brotzman has decided to stay in Colorado to be near a family member who is ill, a press release from the city said.
“In the face of adversity lies opportunity. Unfortunately, Dan will not be able to join our team, and while we are disappointed, we needed to focus quickly on an alternative solution,” Jensen said in the release.
Jensen’s recommendation of Janulewicz will be brought to the city council for action on Jan. 12.
“Marlan and I immediately reached out to Jerry and set up a time to visit, and things simply came together rather rapidly,” Jensen said in the release. “Jerry is a well-respected and longtime resident of Grand Island with experience in governmental law, and I think we will look at this situation in the future as an example of where we used a stumbling block as a stepping stone.”
“I was very pleased that Jerry decided to submit an application once the position became open again,” Ferguson said. “I am excited about him joining the management team at City Hall.”
“I am excited to have this opportunity to serve as city attorney for the city of Grand Island and to work with and assist the mayor, city administrator and council,” Janulewicz said.
Janulewicz, 63, said he did not express interest in the job before Brotzman was hired.
“I received a call from Marlan Ferguson last week,” he said in an interview.
As county attorney, Janulewicz supervised deputy county attorneys and support staff, was responsible for prosecution of criminal offenses, provided general legal counsel to county officials, served as chief negotiator in labor negotiations and served as the county coroner.
Janulewicz was a deputy Hall County attorney from 1985 to 1995 and chief deputy from 1995 to 2000. Throughout his service as deputy county attorney, chief deputy and county attorney, his duties primarily involved advising county officials on legal matters, negotiating and preparing contracts and representing Hall County in civil matters.
Janulewicz graduated from Grand Island Senior High in 1970. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and earned with distinction his juris doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law.
Ferguson said, “I had the privilege of working with him when he was the Hall County attorney and on occasions since then. He worked well with the city on joint city/county issues, and his experience and knowledge of local government will be invaluable. Since he is a resident of Grand Island, I anticipate he will have a jump start on issues facing the city and will have a positive impact on the legal issues of all city departments.”
Besides Janulewicz’s legal experience, he has served on the Stuhr Museum board and Senior Citizens Industries board. He is a newly appointed member on the Third City Community Clinic board. In addition, Janulewicz volunteers for the Nebraska State Bar citizens self-help desk.
Janulewicz is a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association, was a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association House of Delegates from 1991 to 2007 and a member of the Nebraska State Bar Association Executive Council from 1996 to 2002.
If approved by the city council, Janulewicz will earn an annual salary of $124,489 and will start on Jan. 19.
Prior to the city council meeting, from 6:15 to 6:45 p.m., a community reception will be in the city council chambers, with the intent of giving city employees and residents an opportunity to meet Janulewicz. The reception will be open to the public, and refreshments will be served.