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County adds to radio lawyer contract

Essex County Board of Supervisors

Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

— The Essex County Board of Supervisors will continue to use its legal counsel for the radio project through the end of the year.

Board members approved a resolution to amend their contract with Jackie Murray and the Murray Law Firm to authorize an additional $50,000, upping the contract from $375,000 to $425,000. The resolution also extended the contract through Dec. 31.

During the Feb. 7 regular board meeting, County Attorney Daniel Manning said the extension was needed to finalize legal matter regarding the radio project and Murray had the needed expertise.

“(Paperwork) takes a great deal of time to prepare and to file,” Manning said. “A lawyer that is uninitiated, it is going to take them twice as long. She had the contacts. She has been in this business, and it has helped us out a great deal.”

“You have to be able to communicate, and the law is very complicated,” Minerva Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey said. “To have someone with the expertise in this industry is very important.”

Manning said with the extension and additional funding, the county should be able to get to the finish line of the project.

“We hope that the actual construction of the radio project will begin in the spring,” County Manager Daniel Palmer said. “Some of this needs to be taken in the context of where we started and where we are. It has been a moving target from day one. We now have a 26-site system that is now a full loop that provides a full partnership with New York State Police and NYSEG.”

Palmer added that he felt that with grants and contributions from the partner agencies, the project would be coming in “a little under” the estimated $10 million price tag.

“I think overall, this project has been pretty successful,” he said.

Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava questioned some of the billing.

“I see the telephone calls and we are being billed for everyone of those calls,” Scozzafava said. “There is a big portion of these bills are telephone calls.”

“A lot of it is the exchange of information,” Manning said. “Any time that an attorney picks up the phone and does work on a particular file, then you are billed for it.”

“It's much cheaper talking to them over the phone then to have them come to you then you get a much bigger bill,” Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow added.

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