New Hurley law on attorney coverage for city employees, officials raise objections – Daily Freeman

HURLEY, NY – The City Council has passed legislation that will provide attorney services to employees and officials sued for actions taken in the course of their official duties – a move that drew objections from a former supervisor of the town.

At a town hall meeting on Wednesday, former supervisor John Perry said the policy would provide the city with unlimited opportunity to be liable for legal costs.

“It’s basically saying that whatever happens regardless of everything…that the city is going to pay openly based on whatever situation arises,” he said.

Under the law, employees, elected officials and appointed board members would not be liable for “any judgment or settlement of claim” brought against the city.

“Such legal defense and indemnification shall be provided where the officer or employee, at the time of the alleged act or omission, was acting in good faith and within the scope of his employment, powers or duties. public office,” officials wrote.

City attorney David Gordon said the law is based on the wording of state regulations, but adds a section allowing the municipality to hire a lawyer with experience in particular aspects. of the law.

“The money is the same,” he said. “You have to pay your attorney…but there may be an outside attorney who (is) more capable, more competent, to handle litigation than your town attorney.”

Gordon said he doesn’t “generally do litigation and what that means is if somebody was sued…and I defended them, you wouldn’t have the best lawyer to defend them.”

Resident Tracy Kellogg, who twice ran unsuccessfully against Perry for the supervisor job, agreed with her former opponent that the city should cover legal challenges against her representatives, but added that the hiring of an outside lawyer could be expensive.

“I was concerned that there was (could) be a large potential exposure to city taxpayers,” she said.

Kellogg added that there are also concerns that there could also be circumstances in which officials step out of their municipal roles.

“I’m concerned that … some of the council members or city employees are overstepping their bounds,” she said. “I would much rather see the city adopt (the state language) and then handle what happens separately. I’m concerned about the definition of “good faith” and the definition of…a “city employee or member of the board of directors”. »

Comments are closed.