OSWEGO, NY – Mayor William Barlow Jr., asked the Administrative Services Committee to consider a proposal regarding the City Attorney position. A move, he says, will save money in the long-run.
The mayor proposed making the position full-time with reduced hours.
“This really starts from my two years on the city council. The councilors that were here before can probably attest to this, and that is the amount of time (City Attorney) Kevin (Caraccioli) has been at City Hall already this new year, some of the things he’s taken care of for us already,” the mayor said Monday night.
What is budgeted for the Planning and Zoning boards is roughly $17,000 for legal work. The City Assessor’s budget is roughly $20,000 for tax work.
“What my request is, is to take those two budgeted amounts of money for legal work and transfer it over into the City Attorney’s budget for salary,” Barlow explained. “Kevin has taken over the legal work for the City Assessor and the planning boards. I think that’s important for continuity and consistency that we have the City Attorney involved in the administration, knows the vision that we want to execute and knows what we’re working towards that he carries that into the Planning Board and Zoning Board. That’s important to me and I think it’s good for the city.”
This is the more ethical way, rather than billing the attorney’s private law firm, the mayor pointed out.
The charter budgets the position as part-time.
The legal work the city outsources has a high cost.
In the year 2012, it cost $191,000. In 2014 the cost was $154,00 and in 2015 it was $92,000.
“So, with Kevin handling these cases it’ll save the city money definitely in the long-run,” the mayor said. “He’d have to be here for 10 years to begin contributing to a pension or anything like that.”
Councilor Pat McLaughlin asked if the attorney would be eligible for health coverage.
“Because I’m making him full-time, even though it’s reduced hours, it would qualify him for health insurance,” the mayor said. “But my answer to that goes back to the legal fees I just gave you. Dollar for dollar, that is cheap compared to the six-figure paychecks we handed out to the firms.”
The position, if approved by the full council, would be full-time at reduced hours at a rate of $48.2273 per hour and 22 hours per week, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
The full council will consider the request at its next meeting.