Legislature to take case to Supreme Court after County Exec. fires their appointed attorney

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The Chemung County Legislature passed a resolution to bring their case to the State Supreme Court after Chemung County Executive, Christopher Moss, fired their appointed attorney on Thursday.

In a 13 to 1 vote, the legislators decided to bring it to the State Supreme Court in response to Moss firing legislature attorney Bryan Maggs. Maggs served as the county attorney for 11 years, and was appointed by the legislature on Jan. 1.

Moss released a statement citing “conflicts of interest and ethical issues” in Magg’s conduct and decision making as causes for concern. He specifically stated how county taxpayers have paid for legal work conducted by a firm of which Maggs is a partner.

The legislature argues that they have the ability to pass all sorts of legislative measures but that the County Executive can only veto the budget and a local law. They say this was a resolution.

“There is nothing more important than separation of powers,” Christina Sonsire, Chemung County Legislator, said. “If we don’t stand up for ourselves here that means anytime we pass a resolution, it is subject to a veto at anytime. It strikes at the heart of what we do.”

The Chemung County Legislature also passed a resolution ordering all county employees to continue to pay Maggs and allow him to serve in his own capacity, although Moss stated his termination would be affective immediately. When asked if the legislature is allowed to do so, they said it is uncharted territory.

Sonsire said the legislature completed most of the paperwork needed to take their case to the State Supreme Court. However, if it is a conflict of interest for Maggs to represent them, then they will need to hire an attorney, which would cost taxpayers. Sonsire is unsure how much that would be.

“The legislative leadership had a meeting with Moss on Wednesday and we asked if we could do anything short of bringing this to court because no one wants that,” Sonsire said. “His answer was, well I’m firing the attorney so do what you have to do. We didn’t have an option.”

Mark Margeson was the only legislator who voted against the measure.

“It seems very strange to me that Executive Moss would put himself in a position for a simple appointed situation,” Margeson said. “My concern is whether there is anything we are missing that we don’t know about because I just don’t understand. In my opinion, there’s got to be something else that’s concerning. I don’t what know what it is but I need more information.”

Maggs told 18 News he was extremely shocked when he found out the news.

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