To the Editor,
I would like to respond to the quote in the October 29th Cortland Standard attributed to Ron Walsh at a forum for the Cortland City Judge race. When asked at the forum why he had been terminated as city attorney, his response was that he thought it was because of “a disagreement on interpretation of the law”.
Mr. Walsh was not my choice for City Counsel. The Democratic Chairman, despite my concerns, advised me that Mr. Walsh would be a good candidate due to his strong relationship with the party.
Mr. Walsh’s termination was not based on a legal matter but instead on his performance. The termination was supported by a bi-partisan majority of the City Council. In fact, a Democratic alderman said Mr. Walsh had done “too little for too long”.
The City suffered with a backlog of delayed legal maters and unreturned phone calls caused by his poor attendance at City Hall. Department Heads in need of timely legal advice became frustrated. In addition, he was consistently unprepared for Council meetings. In fact, during a preliminary hearing with a Supreme Court Justice on the Rental Permit Lawsuit, Mr. Walsh was scolded that he needed to be better prepared in court.
Either because of his unavailability or inability, the City was over-budget for the Law Department by $80,000 for outside legal fees. After he was terminated, he deleted all legal documentation in the City computer and took multiple legal files from City Hall. It took the involvement of the Chief of Police to have the files returned.
Mr. Walsh’s inaccurate statement about his termination prompted me to write this letter. Because he is running for such an important office, it is important for the citizens to learn the truth.
Former Mayor of Cortland