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Lewis County’s former attorney not likely to oversee contract negotiations until past fee-free window

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LOWVILLE — Though a contract with Richard J. Graham to provide legal representation for collective bargaining to Lewis County states services rendered from April 1 through June 1 will not be charged, few contract negotiations are expected to take place during the fee-free window.

“They probably won’t get underway until June,” said Lewis County Legislative Chairman Michael A. Tabolt, R-Croghan.

Mr. Graham was approved for the duties by legislators April 1.

Alan R. Peterman of the Syracuse law firm Hiscock & Barclay performed the negotiation services in past years.

Mr. Tabolt believes Mr. Peterman was brought on sometime during Mr. Graham’s 11 years as Lewis County attorney.

“At the time, Rich was involved with a lot of other issues,” Mr. Tabolt said.

Hiscock & Barclay had performed other legal services for the county, while Mr. Peterman was the sole attorney who handled employment-related litigation on behalf of the county at a cost of $175 per hour.

Mr. Graham is contracted for $185 per hour, primarily for contract negotiations, though the county’s resolution states “other general counsel services” may be provided.

Mr. Tabolt said other counsel services would be assigned to Mr. Graham by the legislative board as a whole.

Mr. Graham, according to the resolution, is to submit his time sheets for payment to Lewis County Attorney Joan E. McNicol, who began her appointment March 31.

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