CHESHIRE – The City Council recently appointed Jeffery Donofrio of the North Haven law firm Ciulla & Donofrio, LLP as the new city attorney.
Donofrio is expected to start in the new role on April 1st.
Over the past two months, the Council has held several special executive sessions to interview and discuss candidates for the position. City officials were in the market to renegotiate the current legal services contract to see if they could find areas for savings.
Last year the city published a Request for Proposal (RFP) for all legal services, but searches have been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city is currently represented by Al Smith of Murtha Cullina, LLP, New Haven, and has been in existence since 2014. Prior to Smith, Dwight Johnson was a city attorney.
“Because of everything we had to focus on this year, addressing it was definitely not a high priority,” said city manager Sean Kimball. “But now the council is going through the process to see what’s out there.”
Council Chairman Rob Oris expressed support for the new appointment made at the February 9 meeting.
“The city council received numerous excellent responses and options. The process was thorough and led by the city council’s planning committee, ”he said at the meeting. “I believe Attorney Donofrio is a great fit for Cheshire and I am sure that he and his Cheshire law firm will provide world class legal services at an affordable price. I sincerely thank our current attorney, Al Smith, and all of his staff for their years of service in Cheshire. “
Donofrio is currently a city attorney in Berlin and North Haven and has practiced trade disputes in Connecticut since 1990.
Donofrio’s contract was negotiated at $ 9,250 per month while Smith’s contract was $ 21,000 per month, saving the city $ 11,750 per month.
The two members of the Democratic Council – Peter Talbot and Jim Jinks – were the only members who voted against the move.
“I’m going to be voting against this motion, not because of anything against the Ciulla & Donofrio law firm, which is doing an excellent job in North Haven,” he said, “but because I just don’t feel we need to change lawyers in town right now. ” . ”
Jinks agreed, stating that he felt the company may not be able to “handle the generation of Cheshire work”. However, he expressed his belief that Donofrio will do a good job for the city.
The motion was accepted 7: 2.