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Published: Monday, 12/23/2013

Oregon officials choose local attorney for dual roles of law chief, prosecutor

Melissa Purpura of Perrysburg Township shakes hands with Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian. She replaces Paul Goldberg. Melissa Purpura of Perrysburg Township shakes hands with Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian. She replaces Paul Goldberg.

Oregon officials are replacing two part-time attorney positions with a single full-time attorney who will be the city’s law director and prosecutor.

City council last week approved Mayor Mike Seferian’s recommendation and unanimously hired Melissa Purpura for the combined duties. She will be paid $82,852.90 annually and will start Jan. 2.

Ms. Purpura, a Perrysburg Township resident, replaces Paul Goldberg, the longtime law director who retired Dec. 6, and Prosecutor Tom Dugan, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Oregon Administrator Mike Beazley said combining the positions will save money for taxpayers and give the city a full-time attorney’s services during the week.

Ms. Purpura, 38, is with the Rossford firm of Heban, Murphree, and Somers LLC.

She has experience in real estate and zoning law and is prosecuting attorney for Rossford, Waterville, Whitehouse, and Bloomdale, Ohio.

She said she expects to spend half her workweek handling traffic and criminal dockets at Oregon Municipal Court and the rest dealing with municipal law needs.

“The majority of my work has been in the practice of municipal law. ... ” she said. “I’ll attend council meetings and draft ordinances for council’s consideration.”

She earned her law degree and bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Toledo. She was admitted to the Ohio Bar in 2003.

Ms. Purpura was chosen from among four candidates interviewed by the mayor, administrator, and council members Jerry Peach, Jim Seaman, and Dennis Walendzak.

Mr. Seaman said Ms. Purpura came to her interview “with a portfolio of all the information and activities she was engaged in.”

Moreover, Mr. Seaman said, with 10 years as a practicing attorney, she had the depth of experience the city was looking for and the right mix of legal skills.

“She has both civil and prosecutorial experience, and also has done special investigations,” he said.

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