Mayor Michael Cinquanti said today that he would like to appoint Anthony Casale, who is the current attorney for the City of Gloversville, to the position of corporation counsel for the City of Amsterdam. However, due to a New York State law that requires public officials to reside in the same locality in which they serve, Cinquanti is proposing to hire Casale on a contractual basis to provide the legal services that would normally be provided by the corporation counsel, until an amendment to the state law can be passed. The position of corporation counsel is currently vacant with the resignation of William Lorman which came with the end of former mayor Michael Villa’s term who appointed him in 2016. Cinquanti said that if Casale is appointed, he would serve both cities.
New York State Public Officers Law Article 2, Section 3 defines the residency requirements for local officials, but also contains numerous amendments making exceptions for police and fire departments as well as specific offices in many different New York municipalities. Cinquanti said he is working with state legislators to amend the law to include an exception for the city.
According to the contract contained in the agenda released today by the city clerk’s office for this Tuesday’s regular common council meeting, Casale’s firm would be paid $2,500 every other week through the end of the year, totaling approximately $65,000 which is close to the corporation counsel’s total yearly budget for salary and benefits. Further language states that the contract will be cancelled if Casale is appointed later in the year to the corporation counsel position. The appointment of the position must also be approved by the common council.
Under the proposed contract, Casale would provide all the services that have been provided by the previous corporation counsel including prosecution of code enforcement, a role which is currently handled by the Roemer, Wallens, Gold, and Mineaux LLP law firm of Albany. Roemer was first awarded a contract in 2016 to handle the code enforcement cases as well as to handle labor matters including union contract negotiations. Under the proposed contract, Casale would not handle labor matters or other matters that have been already assigned an attorney by an insurance company.