Robinson dismisses longtime law firm

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Robinson commissioners voted Monday to end their professional relationship of more than 30 years with the law firm Goldberg Kamin & Garvin LLP of Pittsburgh.

The board voted 4-1, with Chairman Samuel Abatta voting no, to immediately terminate using the legal services of the law firm, whose representatives included attorneys Robert Garvin and Samuel Kamin.

Mr. Garvin said the law firm had submitted a resignation during the closed-door executive session that preceded the public meeting Monday.

"The board said they wanted to go in a different direction, and we're OK with the township going in a different direction," Mr. Garvin said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Mr. Kamin added, "They have a new majority, and the new majority has a philosophical difference from us. I wish them very well ... ."

A typed draft of the motion showed that the board ultimately chose the "terminate" language over accepting the firm's resignation.

In other motions, which passed 5-0, township commissioners appointed attorney John L. Butya of Robinson as interim solicitor for 30 days, or as needed, and approved advertising for a new permanent solicitor.

They also appointed Mr. Butya as the attorney for the township planning commission, to replace Mr. Garvin.

Mr. Abatta said the motion to discontinue using Goldberg, Kamin & Garvin had been added during the closed-door session just prior to the public meeting.

"It was a surprise to some people on the board," he said after adjournment.

Mr. Abatta said the majority of the board was dissatisfied with the firm's services on some issues, including a legal dispute over a tax-increment financing, or TIF, agreement with The Mall at Robinson.

"It was just time for a change," Commissioner Jesse Forquer, the finance chairman, said after the meeting Monday.

He said the township is looking at different ways to source out legal help to secure specialized knowledge on issues such as the mall TIF agreement and the proposed housing development Stafford Park, formerly named Coventry Park.

"We are fighting some contentious issues, and some strong measures are going to have to be taken," Mr. Forquer said.

Planning director Rick Urbano recommended Mr. Butya's appointment to the planning commission, Mr. Abatta said. Mr. Butya maintains a law office in Robinson and serves as the solicitor for Hanover in Beaver County.

Mr. Butya said Monday he does not plan to apply for solicitor job.

He was a commissioner from 1978 to 1986, serving as chairman for most of that time. Mr. Butya also was solicitor from 1988 to 1991 and was solicitor for the planning commission from 1992 through 2007.

In 2008, commissioners replaced Mr. Butya as the planning commission's attorney.


Andrea Iglar, freelance writer:


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