SCCC trustees seek outside counsel

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On the same night they adopted a budget that raises student tuition $150, Suffolk Community College trustees last week agreed to search for a separate lawyer to represent them, even though the college already has a fulltime general counsel and deputy on staff.

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Paul Pontieri, a trustee and Patchogue mayor, made the resolution that passed unanimously to seek proposals from lawyers who would represent the board on issues ranging from personnel relations, contracts educational law, and municipal law. He said the recommendation for a separate counsel was made by an outside consultant board of trustees retreat last fall. Dafny Irizarry, board chairwoman, said upstate Niagra Community College had an outside board counsel.

However, Ellen Schuler Mauk, faculty union president, questioned the wisdom of the idea calling is “duplicative” and warned that it could create “dueling counsels” between the college’s in-house law staff and the trustees.

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