Afzali resigns as Knox attorney, town hires Storm

— Photo from Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr

Michelle Storm is Knox’s new attorney, following the resignation of Javid Afzali on April 7.

KNOX — At its April 7 regular board meeting — held via conference call — the Knox Town Board accepted the resignation of its attorney, Javid Afzali, and authorized Supervisor Vasilios Lefkaditis to hire Michelle Storm, a lawyer with the firm Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr. 

Afzali’s intention to resign was announced by Lefkaditis at the Knox Town Board’s reorganizational meeting on Jan. 1. Afzali, a Knox resident, is a senior counsel with Bond, Schoeneck & King. He could not be reached for comment on the reason for his resignation. 

Lefkaditis told The Enterprise that there were three candidates for the position, and that Storm stood out. 

“She has extensive municipal experience,” Lefkaditis told The Enterprise in an email, “and her firm is large enough to offer us a deep bench but not so large that the town becomes a number instead of a client.”

Lefkaditis said that, regarding salary, “it was a similar engagement agreement. There was no increase.”

“Our firm is fairly new,” Storm told The Enterprise this week. “Some of us came from Conboy Carter, which dissolved — it was a 99-year-old firm. We’re very excited to be working with the town of Knox.” 

Storm, who lives in the town of Esperance in Schoharie County received her juris doctorate from Albany Law School of Union University in 2012.

Presently, she is the attorney for the town of Schoharie, also in Schoharie County, as well as legal counsel for that town’s water and sewer board. She is running for town justice in Malta this year, in Saratoga County. 

Storm told The Enterprise that, when she was starting out as a legal secretary, then paralegal, for the Oliver & Oliver firm in Albany, she was exposed to Article 78 proceedings — a legal instrument that allows citizens to challenge decisions made by government entities — and found them appealing. 

“It’s an area of law I’m interested in,” Storm told The Enterprise of her decision to get involved as municipal counsel. “It has a big impact on people.” 

Two transfer station workers filed an Article 78 against Knox last year after the town board voted to fire them, which ultimately was found to be a violation of Civil Service Law because the workers had been employed for at least five years each. On Jan. 1, 2019, the Knox Town board voted, 3 to 2, not to reappoint its transfer-station workers and, at the same meeting, voted, 3 to 2, to hire replacements. The Albany County Civil Service Department issued an opinion last April that the two Knox workers who had held their jobs for more than five years were wrongfully terminated. They were rehired in April 2019 but are fighting to receive back pay.

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