Crime

Centre County commissioners approve contract for additional legal counsel

Centre County Commissioners Michael Pipe, Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos last month discuss allegations against District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. On Tuesday, the leaders OK’d funding for more legal counsel for the county but offered few details on the reason for the services.
Centre County Commissioners Michael Pipe, Steve Dershem and Chris Exarchos last month discuss allegations against District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller. On Tuesday, the leaders OK’d funding for more legal counsel for the county but offered few details on the reason for the services. CDT file photo

In a 2-1 vote, the county commissioners approved a contract to bring additional legal counsel to the county.

The contract sets a $200-an-hour rate between the county and the Harrisburg-based firm of Fetterhoff and Zilli.

The contract will appoint special counsel to provide legal advice to county solicitor Louis Glantz, county Administrator Tim Boyde said. He said the board was not in a position to make any comments beyond that.

Commissioner Michael Pipe was the lone dissenting voice on the contract agreement.

Pipe questioned whether the contract was something the county was obligated to provide, saying there was no “not to exceed” figure listed.

“We have no idea how much money this contractor will spend,” he said.

Boyde said the recommendation to bring on additional special counsel was made by attorney John Abom. A contract between the county and Abom was approved Jan. 27 to provide legal advice to the county regarding the investigation into accusations of forgery against District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller.

Although Pipe questioned whether the county has an obligation to approve the contract and said costs for the service are not in the budget, Boyde said the service involves county business directly, refusing to comment further.

Vice Chairman Chris Exarchos said a communication from Abom indicated it is appropriate for the county to appoint other special counsels for this matter.

Chairman Steve Dershem said he was uncomfortable commenting on the subject, calling for the vote that ultimately approved the contract.

Commissioners remained tight-lipped regarding the investigation of Parks Miller, declining to comment and directing questions to Abom.

  Comments