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New Meeker County, Minn., attorney to take office Feb. 1

LITCHFIELD — The Meeker County Commissioners hired a new county attorney this month.

Anthony “Tony” Spector, who operates a private law firm in the Twin Cities and also works as a part-time deputy with the Meeker County Sheriff’s Office, will take office Feb. 1.

He replaces former Meeker County attorney, Stephanie Beckman, who was recently appointed as a judge in Minnesota’s Eighth Judicial District.

Spector, 46, will fill the remaining two years of Beckman’s term and will have the option to run for election in 2014.

In a telephone interview Friday, Spector said serving as Meeker County Attorney will be a “unique and exciting opportunity.”

A selection committee had reviewed county attorney applicants and narrowed the list to six individuals.

Two finalists — Spector and Traverse County Attorney Matthew Franzese — were interviewed last week by the Meeker County Board of Commissioners.

All the candidates were very qualified but “Tony came to the top,” said County Administrator Paul Virnig.

“We’re looking forward to having him start,” said Virnig. “I think he’s going to be good. I think he’s very eager and excited about having the opportunity.”

Virnig cited Spector’s experience with public and private law issues, civil and criminal law, a strong educational history, his background in labor management and experience in the classroom.

Besides being a lawyer and licensed peace officer, Spector also teaches law enforcement classes at Hennepin Technical College. He has a master’s degree in public safety education and administration from the University of St. Thomas and graduated from William Mitchell College of Law.

Spector said he worked as a police officer in Minneapolis for 13 years, including the time he was in law school.

He left full-time law enforcement to begin his legal career, which included serving as the prosecuting attorney for the city of Dassel. When Dassel dissolved its police department and contracted with Meeker County, Spector said he began a part-time job as a sheriff’s deputy.

For the last five years he has worked a couple shifts a month as a patrol officer in Meeker County.

“I really like working with the sheriff’s department. It’s a great organization,” said Spector. “It’s a talented group of individuals.”

Spector’s educational and employment diversity was attractive to the commissioners, said Virnig, adding that Spector’s familiarity with the community, local law enforcement and public defenders was “viewed as a plus” by the commissioners.

Spector said his five years working in Meeker County as a deputy has helped him get to know the community, the county attorney’s office, law enforcement and the people he will serve as county attorney. “I won’t be a stranger in a strange land,” he said.

When he takes over as county attorney, he will have to end his job with the county Sheriff’s Office.

“I will miss working with them as a county deputy,” he said. But Spector said he is eager to provide a “different level of service” as county attorney to the citizens of Meeker County.

Angella Erickson is serving as the interim Meeker County Attorney until Spector takes over on Feb. 1.

No one from the current Meeker County Attorney’s office sought appointment to the top position, said Virnig.

Spector said he does intend to run for election when that time comes.

Spector, who has two young daughters, said he will continue to commute to Litchfield from Plymouth for the time being.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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