by Joshua Maloni
On Twitter: @joshuamaloni
Town of Lewiston resident Joseph Leone has been named legal counsel to the Village of Lewiston. He replaces Ed Jesella, who retired last month after 42 years in practice and four-and-a-half-years serving the municipality.
Trustees unanimously approved Leone's appointment at Monday's monthly work session.
Deputy Mayor Bruce Sutherland said Leone brings "good experience" to the role.
"He's been around enough that he can come in, step right in and move along," Sutherland said.
"He has a very good reputation as a gentleman," Clerk/Treasurer Amy Salada said.
Leone, 66, served the Town of Lewiston from 2000-09, first as deputy attorney (until 2004), and then as lead attorney.
"The time that I spent with the town was enjoyable," Leone said. "It's not the sort of law that lawyers get to practice, generally, all the time. It's interesting to me, and it was a nice opportunity for me to get back into it."
Leone wasted no time in offering guidance on a handful of agenda items Monday.
He met last week with Jesella and is reviewing village issues.
"I'm trying to get as up to date as fast as I can," Leone said.
"We went over some of the files that he has. I'm kind of getting a baptism of fire," he added. "I'm going to have to jump in as quickly as I can and become as familiar as I can, as fast as I can."
Leone's specific position is unique. As "counsel to the Village of Lewiston," he will not receive a traditional salary like previous village attorneys.
"When you're a town attorney, village attorney, county attorney, you're an employee," Leone said. "I'm not an employee, so there's no benefits."
"The village becomes a client of mine, like any other client," he added. "Certainly a client that's going to take a bit more time and effort. But a client."
Leone works at a private general law practice in Niagara Falls. He was admitted to practice in February 1974.
With regard to municipalities, "I like to see governments run correctly - properly," Leone said. "I think it's just good to be part of trying to help the community do things the right way. That's, obviously, interesting to me."