Cafarella Hired as Housing Authority Attorney
As seen in the Niagara Gazette…
By Mark Scheer, Niagara Gazette
NIAGARA FALLS — A former Niagara County lawmaker and current city firefighter will soon be offering legal advice to the Niagara Falls Housing Authority.
During a meeting on Tuesday, the authority’s board of commissioners voted unanimously to hire Jason Cafarella to serve as lead counsel. Cafarella, a practicing attorney with an office on Main Street, represented the county Legislature’s old 3rd District in Niagara Falls before the body was downsized from 19 to 15 members. The Democrat resigned from his legislative seat in March of 2011, announcing plans to move into a new home that was outside of the district he represented. Cafarella is also a member of the Niagara Falls Fire Department.
NFHA Executive Director Stephanie Cowart said Cafarella will assist with “day-to-day” legal matters, including eviction proceedings and other court appearances involving the authority. He also would attend future board meetings as the authority’s attorney. He was selected by an internal evaluation committee that considered three firms that submitted bids for the job, including Harter, Secrest and Emery of Buffalo and Maloney & Malone and Abramowitz on Third Street in Niagara Falls. Cafarella’s contract runs for up to three years and he will be paid $1,000 per month, according to Cowart.
“He would be a fit more for our daily needs,” Cowart said.
Cafarella will be replacing Harter, Secrest & Emery which currently represents the authority on day-to-day matters. The authority’s board agreed, however, to retain the firm for up to three years on an “as-needed” basis for any “litigation deemed to be extraordinary and beyond the scope of the agreement” with Cafarella. Cowart said the firm would be paid on an hourly basis should the need arise moving forward. Following Tuesday’s vote, the board thanked Craig Slater, an attorney from Harter, Secrest & Emery, for his service to the authority.
In other matters, the board accepted a bid for a new business suite software system from Tenmast Software. The company will be paid up to $150,000 to install a new software system that will be used to handle various data processing requirements, including those related to finance, budgeting, resident services and inventory. The company’s cost covers training for authority employees. Tenmast was one of three firms that responded to a request for proposals in December. They were selected by an internal evaluation committee following a presentation earlier this month. Cowart said the new software system will replace the existing system which was installed 12 years ago.
“It’s time to update,” she said. “We’ve gotten our money’s worth.”