Elect DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick

By John Bury | October 27, 2009

I proposed four questions for the Union County freeholder debate last week.  Two were asked and answered, somewhat.  But the one I really wanted to know about wasn’t asked:

Union County, which spends anywhere from $1.5 to $2 million on inside counsel, sees fit to spend millions more on special counsel to defend routine lawsuits and provide unspecified legal services, primarily through the Union County Improvement Authority (UCIA) payments to the DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick law firm.  Can’t you do routine legal work in-house and dispense with specialized legal services?

So here’s the answer I’m left with:

Since 2004 the law firm of DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick has been paid over $6 million by the Union County Improvement Authority, an entity set up to bond for building projects that would never get approved if they had to go before the voters.

From what I’ve noticed, this law firm brings projects to the governing body, sees them through development and completion, and takes their emolument in fees rather than any official credit which is reserved for the freeholders.  In short, they get paid for doing the job that politcians were elected to do.

We pay each of the nine Union County freeholders about $30,000 a year to do a job.  It costs us a lot more to get that job done.

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