County committee grills exec's attorney pick

Tom Marcelle is County Executive Dan McCoy's pick for county attorney.

Tom Marcelle is County Executive Dan McCoy's pick for county attorney. Alyssa Jung

— The personnel committee of the Albany County Legislature on Wednesday, Jan. 25, approved two of County Executive Dan McCoy’s nominations and sent one to the legislative body with no recommendation.

The committee unanimously approved McCoy’s appointment of Darrell R. Duncan as commissioner of the Department of Public Works and Kathleen Dalton as commissioner of the Department of Social Services, sending those to the full legislative body for a February vote.

However, the committee failed to do the same to McCoy’s nomination of Thomas Marcelle as county attorney. The committee first voted on whether to send the appointment to the legislature with a favorable recommendation and deadlocked at 4-4. The committee then voted to send it to the legislature with no recommendation by a vote of 6-1.

During Marcelle’s time in the hot seat, he answered questions from members of the personnel committee and other legislators in attendance, with some Democrats questioning his ability to be objective given his years serving as counsel to the legislature’s minority and his time on the redistricting commission. McCoy is a Democrat.

“You’re trained to defend your clients. My loyalty will be to the county,” said Marcelle. “I will defend their issues as vigorously as I can.”

Legislators also wanted to know how Marcelle would handle “switching hats,” having practiced privately since 1991. He said he would be ceasing all private practice work with the exception of three cases he’ll see through to their completion, further noting that none of them are a conflict of interest.

Noelle Kinsch, D-Albany, wanted to know what if any changes Marcelle planned to make to the County Attorney’s Office if he lands the job.

“I think the biggest issue we have in the County Attorney’s Office is the number of outside attorneys that we pay to represent the county,” said Marcelle. “I don’t view myself as coming in and having the answer to every question. … I respect the lawyers in that office.”

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