County agrees to shift $100K for legal fees


CANTON — St. Lawrence County legislators have agreed to transfer $100,000 from their fund balance to cover the cost of legal fees related to seven cases that required County Attorney Stephen D. Button to hire outside counsel.

Members of the county’s Finance Committee voted unanimously in favor of moving the funds to the legal fees portion of the 2019 budget because there is not enough money available in that line item to cover upcoming bills. The board will vote again at its Oct. 7 monthly board meeting.

Mr. Button said legal bills will be submitted before the end of the year related to upcoming trials.

“We’ve actually made great strides in reducing the number of cases that have gone out,” Mr. Button said. “When I came into the office in 2015, we had 22 cases that went out, now we have seven. The difficulty is that those cases are at a point where there is greater activity associated with them.”

Mr. Button gave a brief rundown of the seven ongoing cases:

— Fisher vs. St. Lawrence County Sheriff case arose in 2013 and had been dormant

— Duran vs. St. Lawrence County, involves a malicious prosecution claim. He said this case is close to concluding.

— Oral “Nick” Hillary vs. St. Lawrence County

— Wells vs. St. Lawrence County, recently resolved.

— St. Lawrence County employee appears in a case before the Public Employees Relations Board.

— A worker’s compensation board challenge

— St. Lawrence County Republican Elections Commissioner Thomas Nichols vs. St. Lawrence County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jennie Bacon. Case involves a dispute over whether a candidate can run for more than one political office at the same time.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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