Exec Bellone says Suffolk spent less on outside lawyers

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Despite cutbacks to the county attoney staff, Bellone administration officials say they have also reduced the amount spent on outside lawyers.

Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider said the county costs for outside counsel dropped from $1.36 million in 2011 to $837,000 in 2012. The county uses outside attorneys for specialty cases like medical malpractice and litigation where there are conflicts or disputes between branches of government.

Early last year when Bellone cut the county attorney staff from 65 lawyers to 53, some critics worried the reductions would skyrocket spending on higher-priced outside counsel.
The data, Schneider said, “shows that with property management you can still save the taxpayers money.”

However, Legis. John Kennedy (R-Nesconset) minority leader, said he wants to review how the administration came up with the numbers they are claiming. “I’ll reserve my kudos until we eyeball the finances,” he said.

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