BANGOR, Maine — A former city solicitor has joined one of Bangor’s oldest law firms.
Erik Stumpfel, 57, recently joined Rudman Winchell, founded in 1917. Stumpfel, who was born and raised in Baltimore County, worked for Bangor from 1991 to 1999. A graduate of Roanoke College in Salem, Va., and the University of Virginia Law School in Charlotte, Va., he worked for a rival firm in Bangor for the past 12 years.
“Being a municipal lawyer can be a real positive experience because in large measure, you are doing something that is viewed as for the public good,” Stumpfel said in January. “I am especially proud of my work in economic development.”
Stumpfel joined Ed Bearor, Tim Pease and John Hamer, who also worked for the City of Bangor, in Rudman Winchell’s municipal practice area.
Bearor said last month that he wants Rudman and Winchell to be “the go-to” firm in northern and eastern Maine for municipalities in need of legal advice.
“In his legal career to date, [Stumpfel] has provided legal services to county and municipal clients on more than $1 billion of economic development projects that have helped to create more than 3,000 permanent, full-time jobs,” said a Rudman Winchell press release announcing he had joined the firm.
Much of what he and his colleagues do is help a municipality follow the proper process when deciding whether to approve a new subdivision, a wind farm or a sewer project, Stumpfel said. He also works with town officials and private clients on economic growth issues including tax increment financing, business park development and how state and federal incentives and other issues could impact a project.
“Things have become increasingly more complex in recent years in terms of the impact of state and federal regulations on municipalities,” he said. “Shore-land zoning is very complex. Plus, the passage of the [statewide] Uniform Building Code has created a whole new set of rules towns with a population of more than 7,000 are responsible for enforcing.”
The statewide code replaced local rules and went into effect in January 2011.
Most cities have staff attorneys, code officers, economic development advisers and other employees to help elected officials negotiate the many laws and regulations municipalities must follow. Officials in less populated towns with smaller staffs and fewer full-time professionals available often turn to attorneys for help in dealing with the myriad statutes, codes and rules.
“For small, rural communities, dealing with federal and state laws and agencies can be a real challenge,” he said.
When not working with municipal officials, Stumpfel spends his time hiking. Several years ago he offered to photograph the “undiscovered” waterfalls of Piscataquis County for the Chamber of Commerce. He “found” 70.
The lawyer lives in Sangerville with his wife, Beth Stumpfel. The couple has two children, Jennifer and Jonathan, who are in college.