BBKCC partner attorney Ron Cross is pictured above as he is presented a plaque from Ms. Dixie Robinson, president of the Richmond Community Schools Board of School Trustees. The surprise recognition commemorated Ron’s more than forty (40) consecutive years of service as chief legal counsel to Richmond Community Schools. Ron began his representation of RCS in 1977 while then affiliated with the former Richmond law firm of Reller, Mendenhall, Kleinknecht & Milligan. Over the next forty years Ron estimates that he has attended more than 1,500 school board meetings and worked with more than 12 different superintendents. Ron’s representation includes almost all areas of law that impact public education from labor and employment law to aspects of regulatory compliance. For more than 12 years Ron served as the chief negotiator on the RCS collective bargaining team that negotiated collective bargaining agreements with the RCS teachers’ association. Ron continues to represent RCS and other school corporations in the Wayne County area. The attorneys at BBKCC are chief counsel for several school corporations in the greater Richmond/Wayne County area. Please contact them if you have any legal needs related to public education.
City of Richmond to start 2017 with new attorney, Andrew J. Sickmann.
Rachel E. Sheeley , email@example.com 5:08 a.m. EST December 11, 2016
Walt Chidester – After 13 years as the City of Richmond’s attorney, Walter “Walt” Chidester is stepping down from the role.
His successor, hired at the Dec. 8 at the Board of Works and Public Safety meeting, will be Andrew J. “A.J.” Sickmann. Sickmann will begin his term as city attorney on Jan. 1.
Chidester and Sickmann are both members of the Richmond law firm, Boston Bever Klinge Cross & Chidester.
“Walt is sort of an icon figure of city government,” said Mayor Dave Snow. “We have been preparing for this for a while.”
Chidester will remain associated with the city, working with the Sanitary District. He also will continue his private practice. However, Chidester and his wife are planning to spend more time with their grandchildren and to do more traveling.
Chidester became city attorney under Democrat Mayor Sally Hutton and served with her during her three terms. When Hutton died in April, Chidester was one of those who eulogized her.
Snow, a Democrat who succeeded Hutton, asked Chidester to remain with the city one more year to ease the transition.
“My job has been made easier over the years by being surrounded by good people,” Chidester told the board of works.
Chidester expects the city to be well served by Sickmann.
“I’m exited, humbled, to serve the city I care so much about,” Sickmann said. “I will do my absolute level best.”
“I think A.J. is going to do a fantastic job,” Snow said.
Sickman is being hired by the city for a salary not to exceed $43,636, to be paid in monthly installments of $3,636.
A 2004 Richmond High School graduate, Sickmann graduated in 2008 from Ball State University and in 2011 from Valparaiso University School of Law. While attending law school, Sickmann worked as a summer associate for Boston Bever Klinge Cross & Chidester, which he joined after passing the bar exam.
Sickmann’s practice primarily includes family, municipal, commercial and criminal law. He has served as attorney for the towns of Milton and Spring Grove, and also as assistant attorney for Wayne County government.
He is licensed to practice law in Indiana, and in the U.S. District Court in both the Southern and Northern Districts of Indiana.
Sickmann is the president of the Wayne County Historical Museum board and vice president of the Whitewater Valley Pro Bono Commission. In 2014, Sickmann was honored with the annual Pro Bono Award for handling dozens of pro bono cases throughout the year. He also serves on the board of Communities in Schools for Wayne County.
Chidester is a graduate of Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio, and received his law degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He began his law practice with Legal Services Organization of Indiana Inc. and was the managing attorney of the Whitewater Valley Office of Legal Services. He joined the law firm of Reller, Mendenhall, Kleinknecht & Milligan in 1981 and remained there until the formation of the law firm of Boston Bever Klinge Cross & Chidester in 1998.
In addition to serving as the city attorney since 2004, Chidester was attorney for the Wayne County Welfare Department for 10 years and served as a deputy prosecuting attorney in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office.
BBKCC partner Ron Cross was part of the team of lawyers who successfully defended a national swine producing enterprise in a series of five separate lawsuits that were filed in nearby Randolph County, Indiana. The suits were brought on behalf of residents located near the sites of several of the facilities alleging that the operations were nuisances due to alleged odors, flies and other such conditions emanating from the farms. The swine producing operations were mostly owned by private Indiana farmers under contract with the national integrator. The defense team was led by a firm from Washington, D.C., and involved litigation through the trial court and Indiana appellate courts. The several plaintiffs were represented by out of state attorneys who specialize in such litigation and have targeted larger agricultural operations (CAFOs / CFOs) in such law suits. The defendants obtained summary judgment in their favor in each of the five cases. Four of the cases were appealed by the plaintiffs to the Indiana Court of Appeals, but the appeals were withdrawn without an appellate ruling and without any settlement or compromise from the defendants. The litigation affirmed Indiana’s commitment to its agricultural economic base and to the protection of farm operations from claims of nuisance arising from odors and other such conditions that are inherent in most agricultural activities, as stated in Indiana’s Right to Farm Act.
If you have issues involving land use, whether agricultural or otherwise, contact the attorneys at BBKCC to discuss your case.