Review of Use of Outside Counsel by the Erie County Attorney
WHEREAS, during the administration of the former County Executive there has been a reduction in the number of assistant county attorneys and an increase in the use of outside retained counsel;
WHEREAS, this approach contributed to the reduction in the size of the county workforce, however it may have led to increased costs to the county due to an over-reliance on expensive outside counsel for the handling of routine county legal duties; and,
WHEREAS, in order to determine the extent, cost, and appropriateness of this approach it is necessary that a study be undertaken and a report prepared for review by the County Executive.
NOW, THEREFORE, I MARK C. POLONCARZ, Erie County Executive, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Erie County Charter Sections 301 & 302, the Erie County Administrative Code Section 19.08 and General Municipal Law Section 104-b, do hereby order as follows:
1. It is ordered that the County Attorney conduct a study and submit a report to the County Executive on the use of retained counsel by Erie County. The report shall include, but is not limited to:
a. A complete list of all outside counsel that have been retained over the prior four years,
b. A description of all cases including if the representation involves litigation or involves another type of matter. Describe all such matters,
c. If litigation is involved, who commenced the action, the identity of the defendant and what relief is being sought,
d. If the County of Erie is not the defendant, but an individual associated with the county is the defendant, determine if the provisions of the Public Officers law that authorizes and in some cases requires defense and indemnity for governmental employees have been complied with,
e. A determination if a request for proposals was used for the procurement as required by law,
f. A description of the original estimate of the cost for the representation and a statement of all expenses and costs that have been incurred and are expected to be incurred for each representation,
g. A determination of the status of all open representations including the amount sought from the county, or is being sought by the county and the best available schedule for the completion of the representation,
h. A determination of the level of risk and the best estimate for the likely outcome of this representation,
i. A recommendation if there should be any changes in current representations, and
j. A recommendation of the best way that the county should proceed in the future; and it is
2. Further ordered that the County Attorney indicate if any portion of the report can and should be exempt from public disclosure due to the sensitive nature of on-going litigation. If certain information should not be disclosed, the County Attorney shall prepare the report so that as much of the report as prudent can be made public with only protected material kept confidential; and it is
3. Further ordered that the County Attorney shall submit the report required by this Executive Order by February 15, 2012.
GIVEN, under my hand and the Privy Seal of the County of Erie in the City of Buffalo this third day of January, in the year two thousand twelve.
County of Erie
Mark C. Poloncarz
Erie County Executive