The Amsterdam Common Council approved a contract with the law firm of Anthony Casale at Tuesday’s meeting to cover the responsibilities of the corporation counsel position. Casale, who currently serves as the attorney for the City of Gloversville, is Mayor Michael Cinquanti’s pick for corporation counsel. The contract is intended to be a temporary work-around to a state law which prohibits Casale from officially serving as corporation council due to not living in the city.
Cinquanti said he is working with state legislators to amend the law, which requires elected and appointed officials to reside in the same municipality in which they serve, to include an exception for Amsterdam. The law contains numerous amendments for many New York municipalities granting exceptions for specific positions.
According to the one-year contract, Casale will be paid $2,700 twice a month for his services, which will include all the current duties of the corporation counsel as well as handling codes enforcement prosecution, which has been handled by another law firm since 2016. The contract will terminate once Casale is appointed as corporation counsel.
Asked about his decision to hire Casale, given his current responsibilities to the City of Gloversville, Cinquanti said, “Every lawyer in the city who’s been a corporation council for Amsterdam has had another job.”
“The benefit that we are getting is that we have a guy who has been dedicated to municipal law for ten years, in a role that is exactly the same as what he is going to be doing for us. So we’re not paying for anyone’s learning curve. This guy’s coming in with expertise in every kind of law that we’re dealing with. He’s already providing me with insights that it wouldn’t even be fair to ask other corporation counsels to be involved in, because he’s been through the process,” he said.
Cinquanti added that he was originally looking at hiring multiple staff for the legal department, expecting that any attorney would be dividing their time among multiple clients, but now thinks that will not be necessary due to Casale’s experience and knowledge of municipal law.