“The Corporation Counsel shall be the head of the Department of Law. He/she shall appoint such assistants and subordinates as may be prescribed by law, by this Charter or by the Board of Estimate and Contract. He/she shall be and act as legal advisor of the Common Council and of the several officers, boards and departments of the City, and he/she shall appear for and protect the rights and interest of the City in all actions, suits and proceedings brought by and against it or any City officer, board or department; and such boards or departments shall not employ other counsel.
… the Corporation Counsel of the City of Rome or his/her designee shall conduct all cases brought in the name of the City of Rome and/or, for a violation of a City of Rome, New York ordinance, local law, rule or regulation, on behalf of the People of the State of New York. ”
— Rome Charter Laws, Title A, §170.
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The Rome Corporation Counsel’s office has a rich history of attorneys who have worked for the office, many of whom have continued on with impressive careers in public service. Please click here for a listing of attorneys who have worked for the office from 1879 to the present day. Attorney names were compiled from official records of Rome Common Council and Board of Estimate and Contract proceedings, historical books on the City of Rome, newspaper reports and personal recollections. If you are an attorney who worked for the Corporation Counsel’s Office and/or have any recommendations for additions or changes to this list, please contact the Corporation Counsel’s office at (315) 339-7670.
Responsibilities of the Corporation Counsel’s Office
- Research, review and draft legislation for the Rome Common Council and Board of Estimate and Contract (Corporation Counsel is a voting member of the Board of Estimate and Contract).
- Act as Counsel and staff meetings for Common Council, Board of Estimate and Contract, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, Neighborhood Improvement Program, Taxi Cab Committee, Records Retention Committee and Plumbing Board.
- Represent and defend the City against claims, litigation and tax certiorari cases. Such defense includes, but is not limited to: 50-h hearings, examinations before trial, discovery, writing memoranda of law, arguing motions and appeals before New York and Federal courts and jury and non-jury trials. Subject matter of litigation actions includes, but is not limited to: Civil Rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, Article 78 proceedings against the Common Council and/or any other City agency or board, negligence, personal injury, employment issues, and property damage claims. Also commence Brownfield remediation actions, demolition orders and foreclosure actions in State Supreme Court and eviction and collection actions in Rome City Court as needed.
- Review and certify all City contracts. Research, draft and negotiate contracts, including City franchise agreements, as needed.
- Handle employment matters in conjunction with the Administrative Services Office including, but not limited to, negotiations with the City’s five unions, grievance and arbitration hearings, including hearings before the Public Employment Relations Board and State Courts.
- Prosecute violations of the Rome Code of Ordinances, State Housing Code, animal control, Zoning Code and parking infractions in Rome City Court and/or State Supreme Court. Also, attend hearings and commence actions with respect to the City’s Public Nuisance Abatement Law.
- Real Property Committee: meet with constituents, evaluate proposals, prepare rehabilitation agreements and terms of City auctions, prepare and file necessary paperwork to both obtain City tax deeds and to transfer City tax deeds to prospective buyers.
- Attorneys are members of City’s Real Property Committee, Accident Investigation and Safety Committee, and Capitol Improvements Committee.
- Advise and research legal issues for the Mayor, Common Council, Board of Estimate and Contract, department heads and employees.
- Review and research Freedom of Information requests and subpoenas.
- Monitor and implement City’s liability insurance coverage, including motor vehicle and property coverage.
Corporation Counsel Contacts:
Email: Gerard Feeney
Confidential Legal Secretary
Email: Dana Chirillo
Angela M Twomey
First Assistant Corporation Counsel
James S Rizzo, Esq.
Assistant Corporation Counsel
Email: James Rizzo
Confidential Legal Secretary
Email: Mike Kohli