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New Dormont Solicitor Unofficially Hired

Council has agreed to, but not voted on, a new law firm to represent the borough.

has agreed on, but not voted, to hire the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Dodaro, Matta & Cambest as the new firm that will represent the borough.

Council President Bill McCartney confirmed to Dormont-Brookline Patch on Wednesday afternoon that council met for an executive session on Tuesday evening, wherein the council members agreed that the law firm would be the best fit for the borough.

All council members, except Eugene Barilla, were present at the executive session. It was announced at Monday's council meeting that the executive session would be held Tuesday.

"We interviewed them last night during an executive session and agreed to retain them as the firm that will represent us," McCartney said. "They have a team that they assign to a borough or a school district for representation."

McCartney said John Rushford, an attorney with Dodaro, Matta & Cambest, would be the lead solicitor for the borough.

An employment contract between the borough and the law firm has been drawn up but not signed, McCartney said. Although the law firm likely will begin researching various borough issues, McCartney said the law firm will not provide any legal opinions or written documents—nor would the firm's attorneys appear at council meetings—until council has officially voted to hire the firm.

McCarntey said council plans to vote to hire the firm at next month's regular meeting.

The former borough solicitor, but will continue to serve the borough until council has voted to hire a new solicitor.

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Ed M March 07, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Get this firm's opinion on the Pitcher Park situation.
Leigh March 07, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Is this the only group they interviewed?
Erin Faulk March 07, 2012 at 08:51 PM
According to Bill McCartney, three law groups were interviewed in the search for a new solicitor (at this time, I don't have the names of the other groups). McCartney said that after council members discussed their opinions of the groups, they determined that this group would be the best fit for the borough.
Kevin Kelly March 08, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Doesn't making this decision (essentially a vote) in Executive Session violate the Sunshine Act? Granted a public vote will correct the error, but its the thought that counts.
Leigh March 08, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I guess things haven't changed too much
Erin Faulk March 08, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Council members are allowed to discuss personnel issues during an executive session, and discussion of hiring anyone who would be paid by the borough qualifies as a "personnel" discussion. They are allowed to agree on something during an executive session, but they aren't allowed to make a formal vote. In this case, it seems that what they agreed upon is to add an item to the agenda for the next business meeting to hire this particular law group—however, I'm told they did not make a formal vote during the executive session. They might have the intention of hiring this particular group, but as long as no formal vote is made, it's not considered a violation of the Sunshine Act.
MSgt. John DeLallo March 08, 2012 at 07:17 PM
For those who don't understand how Councils work, or pretend not to, pretty much everything is set in stone at executive meetings, then voted on at the next regularly scheduled council meeting. You don't suppose the agenda comes out of thin air, do you?
Erin Faulk March 08, 2012 at 07:33 PM
Basically true, John—by law, councils are only allowed to discuss personnel matters, real estate matters, and legal proceedings in an executive session. Councils shouldn't be forming the entire basis of the meeting agendas in these sessions, but certainly some agenda items would be legal to discuss in an exec session.

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