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Allentown council approves new solicitor on part-time basis

Allentown City Hall, Lehigh County Jail, prison, Allentown Center City, Lehigh valley
Donna S. Fisher
For LehighValleyNews.com
Allentown City Council unanimously approved Jack Gross' appointment as solicitor at its meeting Wednesday, June 28.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — The leader of one of Allentown’s top law firms will take over the city’s legal office.

John “Jack” Gross, of Gross McGinley, was unanimously appointed Wednesday as city solicitor by Allentown City Council members.

  • Allentown City Council approved Mayor Matt Tuerk’s nomination of Jack Gross for city solicitor
  • Gross is the managing partner of the Gross McGinley law firm in Allentown
  • Council also approved Nadeem Shahzad as the city’s next human resources director

Gross succeeds Matt Kloiber, who served as solicitor since 2019. Kloiber joined the city’s law office as an assistant solicitor two years earlier.

“I want to take a minute to thank him for his tremendous service to the city of Allentown."
Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk, about former solicitor Matt Kloiber

Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk said Kloiber announced his plans to leave his role several months ago. Tuerk called Kloiber “an amazing solicitor for the early days” of his administration.

“I want to take a minute to thank him for his tremendous service to the city of Allentown,” Tuerk said Wednesday, before wishing Kloiber “the very best” in his return to private practice.

The solicitor is “such an incredibly important position to the proper function of the city of Allentown,” Tuerk said.

Tuerk said he spoke to Gross about who the city should look to hire as its next solicitor and “jumped all over” the opportunity to appoint Gross when he showed an interest in the position.

Part-time solicitor

City Council appointed Gross as a part-time solicitor Wednesday, four years after making the position a full-time role.

Council voted to increase the solicitor’s responsibilities to full-time when they approved Kloiber’s nomination in June 2019.

Tuerk urged council members to appoint Gross on a part-time basis because it will save the city tens of thousands of dollars.

Allentown’s 2023 budget set the solicitor’s salary at $118,144; Gross will be paid $70,000 a year for his services. The city also will save money by not paying for insurance and other benefits for Gross, Tuerk said.

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Lehigh Valley, served “in a similar capacity” under former Mayor Ed Pawlowski, Tuerk told council members. She also worked at Gross McGinley during her two years as part-time city solicitor.

Allentown City Council members also unanimously approved Nadeem Shahzad’s appointment to lead the city’s Human R department. Shahzad most recently served as human resources director in Delaware County.