WARREN To save, trustees release counsel
Trustees will use the city's law department if it needs counsel.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- In an effort to cut costs, Packard Band Trustees have let go of their legal counsel.
Atty. Larry Turner and trustees say the decision was mutual.
He had acted as the board's counsel for the last three years and was paid $750 a month.
The board may need to retain his services in the future, trustees say, but for now they'll use legal services provided for them at no cost -- the city's law department.
Turner thanked the board for retaining him and said he has no ill feelings over the termination.
"We just felt we needed to cut costs," Trustee Raymond Bagaglia said.
Trustee Linda Metzendorf said the board relied on Turner to help with complex legal issues, which have been resolved. He had been representing the board in Packard Band trust matters.
The trust, worth more than $6 million, was established by the Packard family to provide for the band and its home, W.D. Packard Music Hall.
"Hopefully, we're entering a more peaceful time and won't need an attorney on retainer," Metzendorf said.
The board agreed during its meeting Thursday to pay Turner about $10,000 for his services over the last 13 months.
Also on agenda: In other business, the board approved a request from Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, to use Packard Park Shelter House once a month, for free, for the Safe Streets Now Organization.
The group formed about three years ago but disbanded during budget cuts.
Novak said the group, made up of citizens, an attorney, police officers and council members, is forming again to work against crime and make an issue of nuisances, including eyesores, property maintenance code violations and dilapidated homes.
The group plans to seek grants and may file lawsuits against negligent property owners, meaning it may be able to give some money back for use of the shelter house, Novak added.
The board also discussed its June 30 deadline to get a financial plan to city council to show it can be self-sustaining.
Funding the hall: The city agreed to help fund the hall for six months this year, to the tune of $75,000.
If the board comes up with a successful marketing plan, the city will kick in another $75,000, it said.
Trustee John Bentz said the plan is coming along and the board is working to secure a liquor license and establish a nonprofit foundation.
Trustees also approved an $8,000 appropriation for the band to purchase new risers.
Officials are also looking to purchase a band shell for the outside stage, which will cost between $150,000 and $170,000.
The money is not available now for the band shell, but trustees say there is enough to purchase new jackets for the band and make other improvements.
The money the band uses for improvements comes from its trust fund, not the city's general fund, trustees said.