MOUNT VERNON — Since 2004, the city of Mount Vernon has spent roughly $500,000 on outside legal fees and related expenses. That trend has been changing since Chip McConville assumed the position of city law director just over a year ago.
“Outside counsel fees are certainly an issue that needs to be watched,” McConville told the News. “This is taxpayer money.”
The city law director has three main functions: Advising the administration on legal matters related to things such as the purchasing of property, entering into contracts and leases, reviewing all city contracts and legal materials and certain duties that are prescribed by statute; serving as the legal counsel to city council, drafting city ordinances and resolutions for city council; and criminal prosecution in municipal court.
McConville said city council legal matters take “a big chunk of time,” and estimated that criminal prosecutions in municipal court make up 70 percent of the work that goes on in the law director’s office.
“That’s all Rob [Broeren Jr.] does,” McConville said. “He carries the load on that. We do a couple thousand cases a year that actually touch this office, between the traffic, the misdemeanors, domestic violence, petty theft and OVIs. That’s the bulk of the practice here and we get a lot of them.”
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