Fredonia is taking another look at using its out-of-town law firm.
Webster Szanyi acts as village attorney and offered a breakdown of its costs and services for Monday’s Board of Trustees meeting. The report was spurred by a recent OBSERVER article that showed the firm made more than triple the money last year than previous attorney, Dunkirk-based Dan Gard, did in 2020.
Mayor Douglas Essek brought up the breakdown Monday and said, “There is plenty of different things that were in addition to regular business for the year. Just so the public knows, we had four collective bargaining agreements that were negotiated this year, we had three water and sewer agreements that were also negotiated this year, we had several employee/personnel issues that had to be taken care of this year.”
Essek added, “Just so everybody knows, in the past when we did have a village attorney, the village attorney did not do the collective bargaining agreement negotiations. That was an additional fee that had to be charged to another attorney to take care of.”
Trustee Jon Espersen wanted to know, excluding negotiations and personnel issues, what the village paid Webster Szanyi. He figured it was about $86,000, “which seemed to be far and away more than what was paid to a local attorney.”
Espersen added, “I’m not sure why it’s financially a good idea to retain them. … I’m not sure if they’re doing above and beyond what a local attorney can do.