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Croton Board Selects New Attorney to Replace Marianne Stecich

July 23, 2006

Download this video clip to your video iPod (how to guide).

After interviewing candidates from five law firms over the course of two weeks, officials have named James Staudt of the law firm McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP to serve as counsel to the village.

Following the official resignation of Croton-on-Hudson village attorney Marianne Stecich of the law firm Stecich, Murphy & Lamer, the board of trustees unanimously voted to hire a replacement.

Ms. Stecich replaced former village attorney Seymour Waldman who had served as counsel to Croton for nearly forty years. Mr. Waldman was forced out by a newly-elected Republican board majority—led by Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt—in a surprise move immediately after the 2005 election.

Ms. Stecich, after only a year’s service to the village, notified Village Manager Richard Herbek early in June that she did not wish to continue as counsel and renew her contract (see: “Croton Village Attorney Marianne Stecich Makes it Official and Resigns as Counsel”). Her surprise decision left her chair on the dais empty for two meetings—although she had agreed to cover until a new attorney was hired.

Video transcript:

Village Manager Rick Herbek: “WHEREAS, the Village Board of Trustees has completed a search for a new Village Attorney; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Trustees interviewed five firms during this process and has decided to retain McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP,

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: that the Village Manager is hereby authorized to sign the retainer agreement with McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP for its services as counsel to the Village of Croton on Hudson.”

Trustee Ann Gallelli: “So moved.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Thank you Trustee Gallelli. Second by Trustee Brennan. Discussion? We went through quite a process. We interviewed five different firms. It came to a pretty easy consensus at the end to who we felt most comfortable with but we did it in a very short amount of time like you said Trustee Kane. I believe it took two weeks—“

Trustee Charlie Kane: “It took two weeks.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “—to interview and get that done and part of that pressure was of course Marianne um, leaving and of course Mr. Herbek leaving and going away on vacation on us ah, we had to work quickly.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman: “Do we know when the new firm would start?”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “It would be effective when we ah, sign this I believe.”

Village Manager Rick Herbek: “I actually have a meeting planned with—“

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Tomorrow.”

Village Manager Rick Herbek: “—Mr. Staudt is going to be meeting the staff tomorrow at 11:30 and then at 12 noon ah, we’re having a get together with Jim and Marianne to kind of start passing the baton.”

Trustee Leo Wiegman: “Of course. So effective tomorrow?”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Its effective—“

Trustee Leo Wiegman: “Perfect.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “So—“

Trustee Ann Gallelli: “Very good.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “All those in favor?”

Collectively: “Aye.”

Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt: “Opposed? No.”

On July 23, 2006 10:08 AM, weewill said:

With all the lawsuits and complex legal maneuvering going on in our small Village, there never has been more of a need for outstanding professional advice and competent legal representation. This village has been well served in the past and it appears the new village attorney comes prepared to continue that expert representation. I was impressed and pleased to read the following background on our new legal firm, McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP, particularly the in-depth experience of James Staudt, the partner in the firm who will be our designated village attorney.

The following information was obtained from the internet website for the McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP. Law firm.

James Staudt is a partner in the firm of He was admitted to the New York State Bar in 1978; U.S. District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, in 1981.

He has been Village Attorney, Village of Larchmont, since 1981. He is General Counsel for Sound Federal Savings and is a member of its Board of Directors.

Mr. Staudt received his J.D. from Villanova University in 1977 and a B.A., magna cum laude, from Boston College in 1974.

He is a member of the Mamaroneck-Harrison-Larchmont, Westchester County and New York State Bar Associations. He is former Co-Chairman,Real Property Section, and currently a member of the Professional Economics Committee, Westchester County Bar Association.

Mr. Staudt is a resident of Larchmont, New York.

Mr. Staudt practices primarily in land use law, municipal law, banking and real estate, Zoning, Commercial Development And Real Estate. Through its provision of legal services, McCullough, Goldberger & Staudt, LLP has been a major participant in development activity in Westchester and the surrounding counties.

Frank S. McCullough, Jr., James Staudt and Linda B. Whitehead acted as zoning and real estate counsel for a significant portion of the development along Westchester’s prestigious “Platinum Mile” and the Interstate 684 corridor.

The firm has been involved in both the land acquisition and financing and land use approval stages of many varied types of development projects throughout the region. Projects have included shopping centers, office buildings and office campuses, large and small residential subdivisions, mixed use projects, nursing homes and other types of senior housing, and golf courses, as well as individual use site plan approvals, special use permits and zoning variances.

The firm has also represented numerous religious institutions where land use regulations have threatened religious freedom.

The firm also has substantial experience representing municipalities. James Staudt is Village Attorney for the Village of Larchmont. He is Special Counsel to the Village of Bronxville and has acted as Special Counsel to the City of Yonkers in connection with its complete Zoning Code revision, and as Special Counsel to the Village of Scarsdale regarding its downtown mixed use zoning.

With the support of the litigation group, lead by Charles A. Goldberger, the firm has successfully defended numerous local zoning actions, both on behalf of the municipality and the applicant.

The firm’s transactional real estate practice ranges from the purchase and sale of single family homes to commercial transactions with complex financing scenarios.

Not-for-profit entities have been an important part of the firm’s clientele as well. Not-for-profit clients have included Pace University, The New York Hospital, The Hebrew Hospital Home, Inc., Young Men’s Christian Associations and Osborn Retirement Community.

Attorneys with the firm also sit on the Boards of several other community and similar not-for-profit entities.

Georgianna Grant


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