Caroga sets attorney, pay, and newspaper at meeting

The town of Caroga held its organizational meeting on Wednesday. From the left is councilman Jack Glenn, Supervisor James Selmser, Councilmen James Long, Kent Kirch and Jeremy Manning, right. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O'Hara)

CAROGA — After a small debate on which law firm would represent the town for the coming year, the town set its goals Wednesday for 2019, and opted to go with a smaller, local firm.

“[Our goals are] to work together on issues that can move the town forward and address the needs of the town to make some progress and accomplish things that are helpful,” said Supervisor James Selmser. “Either through upgrades of our heating system, our lighting system, things that benefit the town, residents and can eventually save money.”

Yearly salaries and rates for 2019 for elected and appointed officials to be paid quarterly include town board members for $3,043 and the budget officer for $2,781.

Salaries to be paid monthly include town justice at $15,810; part-time dog control officer at $5,698; and the court clerk at $3,366.

Salaries to be paid annually include the historian at $652 and the deputy superintendent of highways at $2,144.

Salaries for elected and appointed officials include the supervisor at $10,232; bookkeeper to supervisor and secretary at $24,277, town clerk and tax collector at $33,040,; sole assessor at $25,235; registrar of vital statistics at $773; golf course manager at $42,616; youth director at $5,540. All are paid bi-weekly.

Employees to be paid hourly include highway motor equipment operators at a starting rate of $16; after a year $17; and after two years $18; highway mechanic is $19 an hour; code enforcement officer is at $30 with a limit not to exceed $30,000 per year; deputy town clerk is at $12; and divers at $21 an hour.

For 2019, the town designated NBT Bank for the town’s finances.

Every town board meeting will be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.

The town designated the official newspaper as The Leader-Herald.

Three separate resolutions were added, including a resolution designating the town’s attorney as Dunn and Dunn, designating the town’s website as and re-appointing planning board member Mike Vought to a seven-year term.

One councilman, Jack Glenn, was however, opposed to designating the town’s attorney as Dunn and Dunn and said he prefered its previous attorney, Salvatore Ferlazzo of Girvin and Ferlazzo based in Albany.

“I thought [Salvatore] Ferlazzo did an outstanding job for our town,” Glenn said. “He did it at a rate of $175 per hour. He hit on every button we asked him to. I recommend we consider bringing back Sal Ferlazzo.”

Councilmen in favor of Dunn and Dunn claimed that there were issues with Ferlazzo including long periods of time in which the town waited for replies on issues, and getting billed calls, travel and emails.

“Girvin and Ferlazzo charged for every single moment they spend dealing with town issues,” said councilman Jeremy Manning. “I found Dunn and Dunn to be a lot more responsive, whereas Girvin and Ferlazzo is a big firm, they have a lot of associates and sometimes small town issues can slip through the cracks.”

Manning added the town could not afford to continue with Girvin and Ferlazzo.

Glenn said Ferlazzo had been heavily involved working with the town for about four years.

“There are still cases we’re working with [Salvatore Ferlazzo] on,” Manning said. “We can use any attorney we want.”

Manning said the reasoning for going with Dunn and Dunn was to have someone more local and more responsive to simple day-to-day town needs.