The town of Brookline, NH has exceeded its legal budget for the second straight year due to labor issues. Last year, a budget of $10,000 turned into over $51,000 in fees to cover legal costs associated with the firing of Police Chief Thomas Goulden. This year, although $20,000 was budgeted for the town legal fees, police department legal issues have already taken up $25,000. Along with $21,000 spent on the firing of Sgt. Michael Kurland, legal advice was needed with regard to union issues. “While I’m not pleased with the fact that we’ve overspent the legal budget, I am very comfortable with the fact that the moneys that have been spent were important to protect the interests of the town,” Selectmen Chairman Tad Putney said during a phone interview (with the Nashua Telegraph) on Thursday.
While it is admittedly difficult to budget for legal fees, when the town overspends the amount allocated the money needs to be found somewhere else. However, based on expected cost savings in other legal allocations (non-attorney fees related), Putney remains confident that the legal fees in the town are being spent well. Jackson Lewis attorney Tom Closson received over half the fees on the Kurland case, which ended up exceeding the legal budget in and of itself.