Murray praises Jeff Martin for his 34 years as town attorney

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 December 2019 at 3:05 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Murray Town Supervisor Robert Miller, left, congratulates Jeff Martin for his 34 years of service as town attorney. Today is Martin’s last day in the role. Miller also is ending a two-year term as town supervisor. He will be joining the board of commissioners for the Fancher-Hulberton-Murray Fire District.

MURRAY – The Town of Murray praised Jeff Martin today for his 34 years of service as the town’s attorney.

Martin is stepping down from the position. He is the longest-tenured town attorney in the county.

Martin said his law practice has become busier. He wants to devote more time to his private practice and also be freed up from the monthly Town Board meetings which are the second Tuesday evenings. Over the years, he also has attended numerous other special meetings for the town.

Martin wants to have more time with his family, including his wife Clara, who has retired as the secretary for Sheriff Randy Bower. She previously worked as the deputy elections commissioner for the county.

“It’s been a long run,” Martin told the Town Board during a year-end meeting at noon today. “I’ve worked with a lot of great people on various boards over the years.”

Martin was 30 when he was appointed to the position. He was asked by James Piedimonte, the late town supervisor, to consider the job.

“I appreciated his vote of confidence,” Martin said. “There was a lot of learning on the job.”

Martin helped the town construct about 15 water districts during his tenure. They all needed to be legally formed and constructed with a financial plan in place for covering the debt service of the districts.

For many years, Martin served as the town attorney while his father was on the Town Board. The late Richard “Pep” Martin was a town councilman from 1965 to 2000. He was a Holley science teacher and driver training educator.

Martin said he wanted to be an attorney since he was 10. He said the late Robert Heath was an inspiration for how to serve in the position in a small town. Heath would give Martin his first job as an attorney.

“I had a lot of respect and admiration for him,” Martin said.

Murray Town Clerk Cindy Oliver reads the oath of office today to Lloyd Christ, left, and Neal Valentine, who were elected to new four-year terms in November. Those new terms start on Jan. 1. Town Board members Mike Mele, far left, and Paul Hendel, right, also attended the town’s year-end meeting. Jeff Martin is seated next to Oliver.

Paul Hendel, a Murray town councilman for 10 years, said Martin has been very dedicated to Murray, at a low cost. Martin charges a $3,300 annual retainer, which includes attending the town meetings. Any work outside the meetings is at an hourly rate.

“He’s never charged close to what he should have,” Hendel said. “He has a legacy here that will be hard to replace. Whoever comes in doesn’t have the history that Jeff has. He has the history of the town that he can draw upon to help make the future better.”

Martin previously worked as the town attorney for Gaines and Clarendon. He said he expects he will continue as the school attorney for Holley. He has been Holley’s school attorney for 37 years.

Robert Miller, the town supervisor, thanked Martin for his many years of service to Murray.

“I appreciate the guidance and assistance Jeff has offered us over the years,” Miller said. “And he did it at an almost pro bono rate.”

Miller was also commended by the Town Board for his service to the town. Miller was town supervisor the past two years. He lost a close election to Joe Sidonio, who starts in the job on Jan. 1.

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