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Glen Cove boosts pay for new city attorney

Glen Cove has increased the retainer for its city attorney by 43 percent compared with last year.

At its Jan. 1 meeting, the Glen Cove City Council approved an $8,583 monthly retainer for McQuair and Associates PC, the law office of its new city attorney, Charles McQuair. Vincent P. Taranto P.C., the legal practice of McQuair's predecessor, was paid $6,000 per month.

"He's doing more legal work," said Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello, an Independence Party member who ran on the Republican line. "He'll be probably taking more cases."

Spinello said the fee was comparable to what Taranto received, considering the amount of work McQuair is expected to perform.

"I am doing a little bit more work," McQuair said. He said one area he will cover as the city's chief legal adviser will be negligence suits against the city, which Taranto did not do.

He will also receive a $1,000 per month salary, and the firm will receive $195 per hour for litigation -- both the same as Taranto.

McQuair, who earned his law degree from the City University of New York in 1993, is a general practitioner who has often handled criminal defense, and has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, including representing landlords in tenant disputes.

In one area, he will switch roles. Spinello has promised to crack down on illegal housing, an area McQuair has experienced from the other side.

"Up until recently, those were some of the cases I actually defended," McQuair said. "I know some of the problems the city has with them. As the new city attorney, it's my job to make the process go better for us."

McQuair said he had some experience in municipal law.

He said his frequent contributions to political campaigns and committees -- 38 totaling $8,506 since 2006, according to state records -- had no bearing on his being chosen for the job. All but two of those -- totaling $700 -- were to Republican candidates or committees. Both Taranto and McQuair are registered Republicans.

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