Traverse City Record-Eagle

January 31, 2013

Grand Traverse prosecutor hires new faces

Two of the three are working their first post-law school jobs


TRAVERSE CITY — The Grand Traverse County prosecutor's office has several fresh faces in top positions, and two will be working their first post-law school jobs.

Prosecutor Bob Cooney ran unopposed last year and succeeded retired Prosecutor Alan Schneider. He recently hired Meagan Hanna, 25, Christopher "Kit" Tholen, 26 and Christopher Forsyth, 38, as assistant prosecutors.

Cooney said he received roughly 200 applications for the listed positions and interviewed about a dozen people. He's excited about his hires.

"I was looking for people who I felt were, number one, ethical; number two, hard working; and number three, very intelligent, good attorneys," he said. "So far, I'm very happy with the people I brought in."

Former Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jim Pappas and assistant prosecutor Jennifer Tang-Anderson also left the office in recent months.

Cooney elevated former assistant prosecutor Noelle Moeggenberg to chief assistant.

Hanna, a Livonia native and 2012 graduate of the University of Detroit's law school, passed the bar last year. She's glad to be on board.

"I really like the variety of work we get to do in the prosecutor's office, and I'm really enjoying becoming part of the community," she said. "We really do good work here, and that makes up for any of the stresses."

Forsyth, of Port Huron, started out as an assistant in the Wayne County prosecutor's office before working for the city of Troy as a municipal lawyer and working for a private practice that specializes in municipal work. He'll be doing the bulk of municipal work for the prosecutor's office, which serves as civil counsel to the county.

"My start was in the prosecutor's office. Even though there's certain things I enjoyed about private practice, I always missed being a prosecutor. At the same time, I really enjoyed doing municipal work," he said. "When I heard about the opening and when I talked to Bob and found out there would be a mix, it's like the best of both worlds. It's my dream job."

Tholen is a Traverse City native who graduated in December from the University of Michigan's law school. He plans to take the bar in February, and has been working cases in the prosecutor's office under supervision from others. He's glad to stay in town.

"It's been the goal all along," he said. "It's really everything that I'm looking for in my life and career: a job that I think that will be fulfilling and being close to family and the people that I care about."