Month: December 2016

City of Richmond to Start 2017 with new attorney

City of Richmond to start 2017 with new attorney, Andrew J. Sickmann.

Rachel E. Sheeley , rsheeley@richmond.gannett.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.