New York Consolidated Laws, County Law § 501. Duties
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1. The county attorney shall be the legal advisor to the board of supervisors and every officer whose compensation is paid from county funds in all matters involving an official act of a civil nature. The county attorney shall prosecute and defend all civil actions and proceedings brought by or against the county, the board of supervisors and any officer whose compensation is paid from county funds for any official act, except as otherwise provided by this chapter or other law. Within the limits of the appropriation, the county attorney may employ counsel to assist in any civil action or proceeding brought by or against the county or any county officer in his official capacity. Upon the appointment of a county attorney no consent or order of the court shall be necessary to effect a substitution of attorneys.
2. Whenever the interests of the board of supervisors or the county are inconsistent with the interests of any officer paid his compensation from county funds, the county attorney shall represent the interests of the board of supervisors and the county. In such case the officer may employ an attorney-at-law at his own expense unless the provisions of section eighteen of the public officers law are applicable.
3. The county attorney shall perform such additional and related duties as may be prescribed by law and directed by the board of supervisors.
4. The board of supervisors may include in such directions the rendering of advice and service to town boards and town officers when not in conflict with the interests of the county, board of supervisors or an officer whose compensation is paid from county funds.
5. The board of supervisors may create the position of confidential secretary to the county attorney. Such position shall be in the exempt class of the civil service. The county attorney shall appoint such confidential secretary, who shall serve at his pleasure.
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