Town of Whitehall on the lookout for new ‘legal eagle’

B y Lee Tugas

The town of Whitehall is looking for a new lawyer.

Town Supervisor George Armstrong confirmed that attorney Christian Morris is resigning as town attorney to join incoming Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordon as an assistant district attorney.

That means the town board is keeping its eyes peeled for a new legal eagle. However, Armstrong said it was up in the air at this point whether Morris’ replacement would be retained as a full-time legal expert or whether or not the town would hire an attorney on a case-by-case basis.

“Christian Morris will be missed,” Armstrong said. Employed by the town for at least six years, Morris will be particularly missed because of his knowledge of municipal law.

“Christian is very knowledgeable,” Armstrong said. “His counsel was always rational and to the point.”

As for Morris’ replacement, Armstrong implied that he personally wants someone very much like Morris:

“I want someone who is steeped in municipal law, someone with experience. We don’t have the time to break in someone new.”

Armstrong said in the next few weeks, prior to the town board meeting on Dec. 11, he would be polling board members for their views. There are two ways the town can handle the matter:

“Some villages use an attorney on an as-need basis,” Armstrong said. Other municipalities share a common attorney. Armstrong said it was not beyond the realm of possibility that the town might employ the services of Erika Sellar Ryan, the attorney for the village of Whitehall.

“It could very well be her,” Armstrong said. “I hear she is doing an outstanding job for the village.”

Armstrong said the town has a limited amount of money to spend for legal counsel, $10,000. He said Morris’ bill never approached that figure.

Armstrong said there was at least three months time to make a considered decision on the matter.

“We are not under any pressure. We could survive easily for a few months until we find the right solution.”

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