Commissioners in West Norriton have named a new firm and lawyer to succeed Robert J. Kerns as solicitor of the Montgomery County township.

The West Norriton Board of Commissioners relieved Kerns of his post on Nov. 15, about the time he resigned as chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee amid speculation he suspected in a sexual-assault investigation, Township Manager Jason Bobst said.

Kerns, arrested Nov. 26, faces trial in county court on 19 counts, including rape, sexual assault, tampering with evidence, and lying to authorities.

West Norriton officials got proposals from six law firms to serve as township solicitor. After paring the list to two finalists, the township last week chose the Lansdale law firm Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin.

Christen G. Pionzio of that firm will be West Norriton solicitor, beginning immediately.

Kerns had been solicitor since 1994.

Pionzio is a member of the firm's real estate and zoning department. She also is solicitor of Hatfield Township.

She earned her law degree from Widener University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton.

- Carolyn Davis