For the past twenty years, prior Town Boards had relied upon a Town Attorney who had been a former Town of New Castle Town Board Member and two-term Supervisor. That same person was a member of the New Castle Democratic Committee, and even sat on their nominating committee. In essence, that person decided who would run for the Democratic slate and who would eventually hire the town attorney. That New Castle Democratic Committee Town attorney used a dual-rate system where applicants for building permits were charged almost double the hourly rate for legal fees which the Town was paying to the same attorneys for the same type of work. That New Castle Democratic Committee Town attorney also caused New Castle taxpayers to eat $628,000 in legal & consulting fees. That New Castle Democratic Committee Town attorney ran up over 1.5 million dollars in legal & consulting fees over 14 months. We changed all that.
We hired Town Attorneys, the largest and most experienced practice group of municipal lawyers of any firm in Westchester County. Currently, they are general municipal counsel for Bedford, Beacon, Pleasantville and Rye Brook. They have been a fixture in Westchester County for over 35 years and enjoy an excellent reputation. The Town has been well-served by our new attorneys. In fact, the Town Board has reappointed our new attorneys unanimously every year since 2015. They we’ve made many improvements with their assistance, including –
•Adopting new escrow procedures for land use applications, so taxpayers are never again forced to eat a $628,000 bill for legal and consulting fees
•Adopting new safeguards to prevent Town retirees from unilaterally paying themselves for unused vacation and sick time without any Town Board oversight
•Adopting a new Ethics Code
•Adopting a vehicle use policy, and updating our policies against harassment and discrimination
•Eliminating a double-standard where the Town Attorney was charging private land use applicants nearly double his regular municipal rate for reviewing large land use applications