The contract between Ulster County and the firm being hired as legislative counsel is raising some eyebrows — because the Legislature is contracting with a law firm rather than hiring an attorney, as it has done in the past; and because of the cost of the contract.Yep. Doxee's article actually uses the name, "Bonacic." So why make the payment less than $50,000? Doxee explains:
Legislature Chairwoman Terry Bernardo submitted to the county’s contract management team a proposed $49,750 contract with the Orange County law firm of Bonacic, Krahulik, Cuddeback, McMahon & Brady.
It’s an amount that falls just below the $50,000 contract threshold at which legislative approval is required.Got that? If the proposal had been for a few bucks more, a messy process would ensue. We usually call this process "democracy," for those of you keeping score at home. But the Bernardos don't go in for any of that We-the-People crap.
Minority Leader Donaldson also questions the Bernardo gang's motives:
“They (Republican lawmakers) are purposely trying to skirt the law,” said Legislature Minority Leader David Donaldson.
[. . .]
That the contract amount is just $250 below the amount that would require legislative approval, “is a bit on the shady side,” Donaldson said.
And our budget boss ain't buying it either:
County Comptroller Elliott Auerbach said he found the contract amount “curious.”Doxee's article goes on to explain that the county contract management team, despite the Bernardos power play, went ahead and submitted the proposal to the legislature anyway, and that the full legislature will vote on the proposal on March 20.
“It really does raise issues because it’s so close,” said Auerbach, a Democrat.
But the most entertaining part of Doxee's article comes in the form of a quote from Bernardo herself, who says she was simply pro-rating Chapman's paycheck:
“The private sector doesn’t pay people for days they don’t work, and I don’t believe the Legislature should either,” she wrote. “The annual line item is $50,000. There are 366 days in this year. Langdon is a good lawyer, but I am not going to authorize paying him for days he was not our counsel.”See? She's just being a careful steward of our tax dollars. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Makes you proud, don't it?