QUEENSBURY Warren County supervisors have decided privatization of the county attorney post is not the way to go.
The Board of Supervisors Personnel Committee voted Wednesday against pursuing a proposal by Glens Falls law firm Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner LLC. The committee will instead interview three lawyers who applied for the county attorney position, and then decide whether they want to hire one of them or seek additional applications.
Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Bud Taylor, chairman of the Personnel Committee, said supervisors were concerned about the availability of counsel if that person was not based at the county Municipal Center.
“They wanted to make sure the county attorney was available when needed,” he said.
Supervisors said the privatization promised some potential savings, but no numbers were discussed.
Mark Schachner, the Miller, Mannix, Schachner & Hafner principal who contacted the county, said he had no comment Friday on the finances of the proposal.
Those three lawyers are Deputy Washington County Attorney Dan Martindale, Brian Reichenbach, who is a lawyer in private practice and a part-time Lake George town justice, and Thomas Clements, former assistant Warren County attorney who is in private practice.
Those interviews will start Tuesday.
The lawyers are vying to replace Martin Auffredou, who has been county attorney since 2011 but was elected to a Supreme Court judgeship in November. He will take the bench Jan. 1.
In addition to Auffredou’s departure, his top assistant, Amy Bartlett, is retiring and the two support staff personnel who have worked in Auffredou’s office are leaving as well.
The county has been supplementing its county attorney’s office in recent years with assistance from the Glens Falls law firm of Bartlett, Pontiff Stewart & Rhodes to assist with labor contract negotiations, the sale of Westmount Health Facility and advice for possible litigation against Siemens Building Systems, at a tab of up to $4,000 per month for each matter.
Those contracts have raised concerns with some supervisors over the spending involved, but Glens Falls 5th Ward Supervisor William Kenny on Wednesday praised the lawyer who has been handling the issues, Lawrence Paltrowitz.
“Larry is the most creative negotiator I have met and I have met a lot of them,” he said.