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Dutchess County Attorney’s Office to See Leadership Changes
James Fedorchak to retire following decade of leadership, Caroline Blackburn to be first woman to lead County’s Law Department

Published: 10/8/2020

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, Communications Director


Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced the upcoming leadership changes in the Dutchess County Attorney’s Office. Dutchess County Attorney James (Jim) Fedorchak, who has lead County’s Law Department for the past decade, will retire at the end of October. County Executive Molinaro will appoint Caroline Blackburn as Dutchess County’s next County Attorney. Ms. Blackburn, who currently serves as Chief Assistant County Attorney, will be the first woman to serve as County Attorney.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Jim Fedorchak has led the Dutchess County Attorney’s Office over the past decade with professionalism, integrity and dedication. We are grateful to Jim for his wise counsel and steady leadership. We wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement.”

Jim Fedorchak to retire after decade
as Dutchess County Attorney.

Jim Fedorchak was appointed County Attorney in February 2010 by former County Executive William R. Steinhaus, following an expansive career practicing law in private practice. Mr. Fedorchak first began in the Dutchess County Attorney’s Office in 1974, following his completion of his Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of New Orleans School of Law. He served in the County Attorney’s Office until 1979, and then spent the next three decades in private practice, focusing in the area of civil litigation, before returning to Dutchess County Government as County Attorney in 2010. While serving as County Attorney, Mr. Fedorchak represented Dutchess County as a member of the Board of Directors and as President of the County Attorneys Association of the State of New York.

Mr. Fedorchak said, “It has been a pleasure to serve Dutchess County Government, and two county executives in my tenure. As County Attorney, I not only applied the law to a wide variety of situations but used that knowledge base to provide practical advice in the context of each department’s function. While representing the interests of Dutchess County, I have had the opportunity to work with a team of dedicated public servants. Certainly, my work here has been one of the high points of my legal career. I am grateful to County Executive Molinaro for his commitment to integrity and transparency in how this County government is run.”

The County Attorney serves as the sole legal advisor for the County; preparing all necessary legal papers and instruments pertaining to County Government; prepares memoranda and opinions in regard to local laws, resolutions and legalizing acts; and prosecutes and defend civil matters or proceedings involving the County and its units, including its officers.

Ms. Caroline Blackburn will be appointed as acting County Attorney by County Executive Molinaro effective November 1st.  Ms. Blackburn first joined Dutchess County Government as a Legal Intern as she worked toward her Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School. After graduation in 2011, Ms. Blackburn returned home to Poughkeepsie where she entered private practice with a local firm, focusing on labor and employment law, education law, and special education law. She then returned to Dutchess County Government in 2013 as an Assistant County Attorney.  She has risen through the ranks, first being promoted to Senior Assistant County Attorney in 2015, and then Chief Assistant County Attorney in 2017.

“I look forward to appointing Caroline Blackburn as our next County Attorney. Caroline’s experience, strong analytical and communication skills, and commitment make her the right person to take on this critical role. The County Attorney’s Office, and the county departments and the residents it supports, will be well-served with Caroline at the helm,” said County Executive Molinaro.

Caroline Blackburn to be appointed
as County Attorney in November.

Ms. Blackburn said, “I am honored and privileged to accept County Executive Molinaro’s appointment as County Attorney and look forward to continuing this office’s history of delivering efficient, ethical, and high-quality legal services. It is a privilege to guide the strong team in our County Attorney Office, and I look forward to continuing our partnership with all Dutchess County departments in this new role. On a personal note, I hope that, as a working mother, I can set a positive example for my daughter the way my mother did for me.”

Ms. Blackburn is a lifelong resident of Dutchess County. She grew up in the City of Poughkeepsie, graduated Our Lady of Lourdes High School, and lives in the Town of Stanford with her husband, Daniel, and their daughter, Natalie. She has been active in her community and has enjoyed volunteering with the Junior League of Poughkeepsie, including serving as its President from 2014-2017. She is a member of the Dutchess County Bar Association and the Mid-Hudson Women’s Bar Association.

A resolution confirming her appointment will be forwarded to the Dutchess County Legislature for consideration and approval at its November 2020 meeting.