Wellington City Council negotiates new contract with village solicitor

Wellington City Council.

On Tuesday, March 22, Wellington Village Council appointed Councilor Michael Napoleone to serve as the resource person to negotiate the renewal of contract for Village Solicitor Laurie Cohen. Cohen’s current contract expires April 28.

While the council agreed that Cohen, who once served on the council herself, should remain the village‘s chief legal adviser, some concerns have been raised about the pace of legal efforts.

Vice Mayor John McGovern said he was concerned that some village issues would not be argued until the council’s conclusion.

“In 2016, there was a clear mandate, I believe, from the voters, and I believe it’s still there, that litigation with the Village of Wellington should begin and end, and not go on and on. again,” McGovern said. “I’m beginning to fear that some of these issues will not be advanced and argued through to conclusion in the manner that the five of us have directed.”

He said he understands the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the early conclusion of some issues. Cohen said there were also a number of cases the village was waiting for the court to rule on.

Mayor Anne Gerwig said the wait for those cases to be resolved does not depend on negotiating a new contract with the village attorney.

McGovern said his problem was whether the pending cases were about who would serve as the village attorney.

Cohen noted that some of the cases are close to conclusion.

Gerwig said the council’s responsibility was to appoint a member to negotiate a contract with Cohen.

Councilman Michael Drahos has suggested renewing the contract for a year to see where the court cases go, but Gerwig said Cohen should be on board for that because she has yet to approve the contract.

“Let’s designate someone to have this conversation with her out of public so if there’s something she wants to say, she can say it,” Gerwig said. “I’m ready to do it. I’ve already done it.

Napoleon declared that he would also be willing to negotiate the contract, and the council agreed by consensus to give the task to Napoleon.