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Bellone Announces Outside Counsel Costs Drop by $529K With Reduced Staff

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(Hauppauge, NY-April 1, 2013)—Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced that despite reducing the County Attorney’s office by 12 lawyers in 2012 that Suffolk County spent $529,398 less on outside counsel than the previous year.

Total expenses for outside counsel fell from $1,366,719 in 2011 to $837,321 in 2012. 

“The fact that outside counsel costs fell at the same time we reduced the size of the County Attorney’s office demonstrates that we are committed to doing more with less to save taxpayer dollars,” County Executive Steve Bellone said.  “Through our Performance Management Department we are continuing to find ways to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

One of County Executive Bellone’s first actions in January, 2012 to form the government while leaving within our means was to reduce the size of the County Attorney’s office by approximately 20 percent.  He used the salary savings from those positions to fund positions in Performance Management dedicated to making the government more efficient and Economic Development to create jobs.

When then County Attorney Dennis Cohen was appearing before the Legislature, he was questioned extensively about whether the reduction in staff would create a greater need for outside counsel.  Cohen stated that while the number of cases may fluctuate, that he would not change the categories of cases Suffolk County sends to outside counsel, including medical malpractice, bus claims, vehicle seizure and conflicts.  Instead, Cohen said the Law Department would do more with less by cross-training attorneys to handle multiple areas and increasing productivity.

2011

General Fund                          $  741,181

DWI-Vehicle Seizure              $    56,999

Torts                                        $  568,539

Total                                        $1,366,719

2012

General Fund                          $384,196

DWI-Vehicle Seizure              $  65,504

Torts                                        $387,621

Total                                        $837,321

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