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Graham out, McNichol in; Lewis County legislators choose new attorney


LOWVILLE — Lewis County legislators have elected not to reappoint Richard J. Graham as county attorney, instead choosing to hire Joan E. McNichol.

The decision was made in executive session Thursday evening. An official appointment will have to be made in public session following a vote.

Chairman Michael A. Tabolt confirmed the board had made an offer to Mrs. McNichol and she had accepted.

A salary for Mrs. McNichol was not disclosed. In 2013, Mr. Graham received an annual salary of $101,490. Legislators approved the same amount for a 2014 salary in November.

In a phone interview Friday afternoon, Mrs. McNichol said she has followed local county issues, including the legislators’ legal woes concerning the purchase of a bowling alley for office space.

“I believe they took the right action,” she said after the board voted Thursday to honor a $1 million purchase agreement made in October. “They can take a step back now, a deep breath, and abide by the terms of the contract and evaluate the property.”

Mr. Tabolt said legislators were hoping to set an approximate April 1 start date for Mrs. McNichol.

Educated at Hofstra University School of Law, Mrs. McNichol is a partner at Coffman & McNichol Esqs. with her husband, James Coffman. She is a past president of the New York Women’s Bar Association.

She and her husband have lived in Lewis County for the past seven years, drawn to the area to build an affordable-housing real estate project just outside the village of Lowville limits, where they also reside.

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