Berrien County is in need of a new corporate counsel. James McGovern is leaving the job effective March 15 after five years as the county’s lawyer. In a statement, McGovern says he has a duty as an attorney to “advocate for my client’s interests while upholding the duty to honor my profession’s code of ethics; additionally, and most important, I have a duty to protect and uphold the public trust.” He goes on to say when circumstances arise creating conflicts between “any and all of those duties, it is not an option to sacrifice one for the benefit of another.” McGovern says that’s the reason for his resignation, though exact details on what the conflict or conflicts are is not clear as yet.
The announcement followed Thursday’s Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting, after which the commission held a closed session regarding McGovern’s exit. He took the job to succeed Donna Howard after she was elected as a district judge in November 2014.