Along with the cast change among its board members, the East Hampton school district is changing its legal counsel, too. Morgan Lewis & Bockius, the Philadelphia-based firm that cost the district $2.3 million in fees during its contentious suit with Sandpebble Builders, is out. Pinks Arbeit & Nemeth, a Hauppauge law firm, is in.
“The board felt that it needed a fresh look and a new direction in this long-standing litigation,” said James Amaden, the school board president, in a press release. “We are confident that the Pinks firm will provide the advice and direction desired.”
The resolution to hire Pinks Arbeit was unanimous at Tuesday night’s board meeting. The special counsel will receive an hourly rate of $375, and will represent the district’s interests in the two pending litigations, East Hampton Union Free School District v. Sandpebble Builders and Sandpebble Builders v. Deborah Mansir, et al., effective immediately.
The issue of peeling paint at the high school was also discussed. “Obviously, due to the scope of the work involved, the contractors are trying to research it as much as they can, to protect themselves,” said Eric Woellhof, the district’s director of facilites.
Alison Anderson, a board member, had attended a recent school construction meeting, and had come away with the understanding that if an adhesion test was not conducted by the contractor before painting began, “We could have the whole building repainted free of charge.”
“They probably should have raised these questions before they started painting,” said Mr. Woellhof.
After Tuesday’s meeting, a reception was held to celebrate eight teachers being granted tenure. Diane Boos, Alison Fritzen, Meredith Jacobs, Matthew Monfett, Larry Roberts, Anthony Roza, Lisa Shaw, and Frank Sokolowski were congratulated with cake and handshakes by board members, the superintendent, and fellow teachers.