Longtime city attorneys for Westfield, Carmel tender resignations

Carmel and Westfield have both seen the abrupt exits of their longtime city attorneys in recent weeks—and neither city is shedding light on the reasons for those departures.

Brian Zaiger, who had worked for Westfield since 1992, and Carmel attorney Doug Haney, a city employee for 24 years, both resigned from their municipal positions. Neither could be reached for comment.

Zaiger, an attorney with Indianapolis-based Krieg Devault, sent Westfield Mayor Andy Cook an email on Jan. 4 that referenced a phone call from the previous night and said he was resigning at the mayor’s request.

“As it appears that I will no longer be able to discharge my duties with the integrity and professional responsibility I have maintained for nearly 30 years in representing the Town/City of Westfield,” Zaiger said. “I am happy to submit my resignation rather than accept the alternatives presented.”

Zaiger played a central role in Westfield’s transition from a town to a city in 2008 and was more recently involved in public deliberations regarding the city council’s jurisdiction over the Grand Park Sports Campus.

Vicki Duncan Gardner, communications director for the city of Westfield, confirmed that the mayor did ask for Zaiger’s resignation. She declined to answer other questions about the context surrounding his resignation.

“(Zaiger) has been a great asset providing excellent counsel to the City of Westfield for almost thirty years,” Gardner said by email. “We wish him all the best in the future.  As the new legal counsel, Blake Burgan, is brought up to speed there will be no disruption in services to the City Administration, City Council or Clerk’s Office.”

Cook was unavailable for comment Monday morning.

According to Gardner, Zaiger is one of several attorneys whose services were paid for out of the city’s $250,000 retainer with Krieg DeVault.

In Carmel, Haney issued his own verbal resignation to Mayor Jim Brainard on Dec. 20.

Haney first joined the city of Carmel in 1997.

Currently, Haney is engaged in a federal lawsuit pertaining to an alleged incident at City Hall.  Gary Brooks, a man who has difficulty forming new memories and therefore records his interactions on video, claims Haney assaulted him to keep him from recording in the city’s legal department. Haney disputes Brooks’ account of the alleged incident.

In 2015, Brainard sent an internal email stating Haney had resigned. By the next day, however, Brainard said Haney had not resigned but was on paid administrative leave for personal reasons.

Carmel spokesman Dan McFeely declined to answer additional questions about Haney’s departure.

“We have no comment as this is a personnel matter,” McFeely said.

Haney’s salary was $175,394.

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