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Warren County attorney resigning position at end of April

Warren County attorney resigning position at end of April

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QUEENSBURY — Warren County Attorney Mary Kissane is resigning her position at the end of the month after 3 ½ years on the job.

The news was mentioned in passing during Thursday’s meeting of the Personnel, Administration and Higher Education Committee, when Kissane reminded the board that April 30 would be her last day.

Minority Leader Claudia Braymer, who serves as chairwoman of the committee, took time to acknowledge Kissane’s pending departure.

“We thank you Attorney Kissane for all your good work and your service to the county, and we wish you the best in your new endeavors,” Braymer said.

No reason was stated publicly for Kissane’s resignation. Kissane did not return a message seeking comment after the meeting.

Kissane is leaving at a time when the county is dealing with multiple active lawsuits. The committee met in executive session to discuss two of them.

Ilana “Laney” Morgan has filed a $1.5 million federal lawsuit, alleging her civil rights were violated when she was terminated from her job as a paralegal. County officials claimed that Morgan used her position to obtain information about property that was going to be put up for auction because her boyfriend wanted to buy it.

An appeals court sent the case back to the county on the grounds that Morgan’s due process rights were violated because Kissane made the allegations against her, testified at her disciplinary hearing and made the final recommendation.

June Maxam of Chestertown filed a lawsuit alleging that county officials did not file required paperwork and says that board Chairwoman Rachel Seeber, Majority Leader Doug Beaty and Minority Leader Claudia Braymer should be removed from their positions as a result.

Other lawsuits include one from Enterprises Management Inc., which is headed by Victor Macri, which is seeking another $270,000 beyond what an appeals court awarded him for 3.86 acres of his land the county took for the now-abandoned runway extension project. The county is also involved litigation suing manufacturers of opioids.

After the executive session, Beaty inquired if the county has started the process for filling the position.

Robert Terwilliger is the assistant attorney in the office and there is a third person working in that office.

Braymer said this was the first meeting of the supervisors since they received Kissane’s resignation letter and discussion of the position was not on the agenda.

“I was here on the board the last time we went through this process and it takes a little bit of time,” she said.

Braymer suggested that perhaps the county should seek requests from legal firms in the interim while going through the process.

“I’m not sure it’s going to be really quick to get someone to replace Mrs. Kissane,” Braymer said

Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Brad Magowan said he believes getting some outside help is an excellent idea.

Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover said he the assistant attorney would assume the responsibilities and he had questions about delegating legal duties to an outside agency.

County Administrator Ryan Moore said that maybe Kissane and he can sit down and review the job description.

Kissane has been county attorney since November 2017. She had been serving as acting attorney since Oct. 1 of that year after Brian Reichenbach resigned from the position because it was a conflict of interest with his role as a Lake George town judge.

Kissane’s hiring was not unanimous at the time. Five supervisors voted in opposition because they believe that the county did not do a thorough enough search or fully vet her. She had been a lawyer for about five years when she was hired.

Three of those members are still on the board: Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer, Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Doug Beaty and Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Rachel Seeber, who is now board chairwoman.

The two former board members who voted in opposition were Glens Falls 4th Ward Supervisor James Brock and Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Matt Sokol.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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