Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

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Hofstetter Opposes Replacing Mam'k Attorney

[Editor's Note: The following points were made by Trustee Hofstetter at the Monday, December 7 reorganization meeting of the Mamaroneck Village Board of Trustees. The board voted 3-2 to appoint Christie McEvoy-Derrico as Village attorney. Voting for the appointment were the three new members of the board: Mayor Norman Rosenblum; Trustee  Marianne Robino Ybarra and Trustee Louis N. Santoro. Voting against were the continuing members, Trustee Hofstetter and Trustee Toni Pergola Ryan. ]

Addendum from December 11: I still have not received any information regarding the parameters of Ms. McEvoy-Derrico’s employment as Village attorney even though I am a member of the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees. I have not been given anything by the Village Manager or Mayor Rosenblum that outlines the hours she will work, the days she will work, her compensation and what provisions have been made for the department managers and staff when she is not available and legal advice is needed.  In addition we have not had any explanation of how conflicts of interest between her husbands firm, her outside practice and her work for the Village will be addressed.  In fact one of the first things up for the Village attorney to tackle is a case that also involves her husbands firm Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edleman & Dicker.  The silence on these issues is deafening.

* The newly elected members campaigned on the issue of wanting a more open and inclusive government. One that would involve our volunteer committees.

* The decision to replace the full-time Village attorney was made without consulting the Budget Committee or some other members of the Village Board.

* A decision that was in my view neither in the open nor inclusive.

* I have not seen any analysis that went into determining the Mayor’s contention that savings of over $100,000 could be realized.

* In my opinion the Village Attorney position is in fact a full-time position that can only be converted into a part-time position only by outsourcing additional work to outside counsel and thereby ending up with higher costs.

* Replacing the current Full-Time attorney with a part-time attorney and expecting savings contravenes recent Village history where part-time attorneys were paid in excess of $1 million a year because there was no incentive to supervise the bottom line … for the taxpayer.

* Obviously recent history shows outside lawyers do not have the same incentives to minimize legal expenses as inside counsel.

* In my opinion replacing the current attorney with any new attorney and not providing any transition period makes things more difficult and puts the Village in an unnecessary position

I would like to know the process for selecting Ms. Derrico

o To hire the current village attorney we advertised the position and received approximately 40 resumes

o The pool was narrowed to a manageable number

o The finalists were selected and interviewed

What are the parameters of the contract with Ms. Derrico? I have not seen even a draft of that contract if it exists

o The public does not know which specific days will she be working?

o How many hours a week would she be working for the Village?

o Where will she be working out of? The offices at Village Hall?

o Will she receive benefits?

o The Village had issues in the past with the appearance of conflicts of interest. To borrow a line from Ms. Derrico – we need to have to have a Chinese wall between her private practice, her work for the Village and the work that her husband’s firm does for the Village. If this nomination passes I will ask the Ethics Board for an interpretation on we how can build such a wall to protect the Village.

Lastly – Section 34 of tonights agenda – Disclosure of Interest if Any

o This section of the General Municipal code has been updated

o The revised General Municipal code should be read and included.

o I ran this section of the code past the current Village Attorney and she immediately notified me that the code included in the packet had been revised by the State and advised me that the Village Ethics Code was also applicable.

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