North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Spain Should Recuse from Appointment of Attorney

At a meeting of the North Greenbush Town Board, Councilman Al Spain sponsored a Public Hearing on a Local Law that would allow he and the board to appoint non residents as deputy town attorneys. At the hearing Mr. Spain was asked to consider recusing himself from any vote to appoint a non resident attorney who is apparently providing free legal representation to his brother in a civil case involving his disbursement of nearly $5,000 in Democratic Party funds after losing control of the Committee.

Voting to appoint this attorney and changing the law to allow non residents in these positions creates the appearance that the Councilman is appointing the attorney to a town job as a quid pro quo for the attorneys free legal representation for a family member. Former Councilman Desso recused himself from voting on these matters before he was removed from the board by the courts. He did so because the other non resident attorney was representing him in his civil matter involving holding two elective offices. He saw the improper appearance created and recused himself. Councilman Spain should follow the example of Mr. Desso and recuse himself from making any appointment of an attorney who is providing free legal services to his brother.

Mr. Spain’s brother spoke at the public hearing and refused to state that he was paying the attorney representing him in Rensselaer City Court. He declined to provide a retainer agreement as well and declared that it was not anyone’s business what his attorney was doing for him.

Despite the fact that prior town boards made the same mistake in illegally hiring non residents in these posts, we should strive to appoint people who live here, pay taxes here and have a stake in North Greenbush. The friends Councilman Spain is trying to appoint to town jobs should only be considered if no qualified town residents are available. The town board meets February 11th at 7pm and may vote to appoint attorneys. The public is free to speak at that time.
Dan Ashley