A proposal for Glen Cove to hire a former deputy city attorney as outside counsel weeks after she resigned — at a rate more than double her former pay — faces opposition.
The resolution calls for hiring Kristina Heuser to represent the city in a lawsuit related to an audit of retiree health care benefits at a rate of $195 per hour. Heuser made $70 an hour as deputy city attorney, a position she left June 14.
Councilwoman Marsha Silverman said during a pre-council meeting June 18 that hiring Heuser at the higher rate after her resignation was “inappropriate” and the city should issue a request for proposals to hire legal counsel.
“So I have a question," Silverman said. "Can I quit and then come back and get paid two and a half times as much as I’m making today?”
City Attorney Charlie McQuair defended the proposal, saying Heuser was familiar with the case and as deputy city attorney had already represented the city in court.
“She has been in every meeting that we have discussed concerning the health care audit,” McQuair said at the pre-council meeting. “To me, it’s only logical that she stay on.”
The case was filed by retired City Attorney Vincent Taranto earlier this month, seeking to have his health insurance benefits reinstated. Taranto was one of six retired employees whose coverage was terminated after an audit found they weren’t eligible for the benefits.
Heuser, a Republican who ran for city council in 2015, said she thinks Silverman, a Democrat, spoke against her appointment because the “Democrats do not want the truth exposed about the results of the health care audit.”
“It does not surprise me at all that Marsha vehemently opposed my firm’s appointment as special counsel on the Taranto matter,” Heuser said.
Mayor Timothy Tenke said the council is still discussing whether the resolution will come up for a vote at its Tuesday meeting.