Collins’ Outside Counsels
by Geoff Kelly - posted 3:48 pm, December 14, 2010
Those following the county budget drama today will have already read Matt Spina’s account of Judge Glownia’s ruling that Erie County Executive Chris Collins does not have the power to declare null and void the Legislature’s amendments reducing some of his proposed expenditures.
What struck me was the last line:
“The charter does not give the county executive the right to declare reductions null and void,” [Glownia] said, as an outside lawyer for Collins listened by telephone.
The outside attorney representing the county executive today was Todd Bullard of the high-priced firm Harris Beach. One can make the case that the administration needed outside counsel in this circumstance, since the county attorney is meant to represent all of county government, and here two branches of county government are at odds. In factm however, Collins has treated the county attorney’s office as representing his will alone, a department that essentially answers to and represents the executive branch. (See: former Erie County Attorney Cheryl Green.) And, of late, more and more of the county’s legal work has been farmed out to private firms.