YORKTOWN, N.Y. - The resignation of Town Attorney Michael J. McDermott was accepted by the Town Board at Tuesday night's meeting.
McDermott, also a town justice in Somers, was appointed to the position on Jan. 12, 2016. McDermott, who has three children in college, said he is resigning for financial reasons and that he will return to private practice.
“I wish the new administration well in their agenda,” McDermott said. “I stayed on to help as best I can with some pressing issues and I will continue to be available after I leave in the event they have questions or need information.”
McDermott said he enjoyed working for the town.
“The Town of Yorktown is greatly benefited by many, many employees, all of whom I’ve got to know and work closely with, and I consider them friends and hopefully they will be lifelong friends,” McDermott said.
Supervisor Ilan Gilbert said his administration was considering moving in another direction with the position, but was still “caught by surprise” by the resignation.*
At the end of Tuesday's meeting, the Town Board voted, 3-2, to award a contract to Marc Oxman's law firm to provide legal counsel to the Town of Yorktown on an interim basis. The firm will be paid $9,750 a month, until a replacement town attorney is named, Gilbert said.
Councilmembers Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman opposed the resolution, which was not listed on the agenda. Lachterman said the contract was "disgusting, underhanded, backdoor" and "everything [the Democrats] ran against." Lachterman said hiring Oxman is a conflict of interest because he has been a supporter of local Democratic candidates and recently led a lawsuit against the Town Board.
Gilbert said the board was acting responsibly and that there was no conflict of interest. He said the contract needed to be approved immediately because it was emergency in nature.
"The board needed to do what it needed to do to protect the town," Gilbert said.
Lachterman said he will protest the decision.
*Editor's Note: This article was updated following Tuesday's meeting.