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The top federal attorney in Western New York said today he will resign Friday to join a private law practice and would not take a county job as previously expected.

U.S. Attorney Patrick H. NeMoyer's resignation after four years was expected because of his nomination Saturday for a state judicial post.

But in something of a surprise, NeMoyer said he will join the Orchard Park law firm of Berkowitz & Pace.

County Executive Gorski previously proposed creating a three-month job for NeMoyer, a fellow Democrat, as a temporary counsel on regionalization, analyzing competing governmental consolidation programs and outlining an action plan before Jan. 1.

"I would have been thrilled to do that," NeMoyer said.

But he said today that the idea has been dropped. NeMoyer, who encountered some strong criticism of the interim county job prospect, apparently did not have the County Legislature votes to make the move, sources said.

The U.S. attorney has received the Democratic, Republican, Conservative and Liberal nominations for State Supreme Court justice and will be on the Nov. 4 ballot on all four lines. If elected, he would take office Jan. 1.

NeMoyer, an Orchard Park resident, said as recently as Sept. 18 that he wanted legislative backing for his job in the Gorski administration. The move had been expected to come to a vote Thursday.

NeMoyer, 44, was a former county attorney and denied suggestions that the consolidation appointment represented cronyism or a misuse of the hot topic of regionalization.

Today, Gorski said that NeMoyer's immediate acceptance into the law firm is evidence that he had no need for a county job.

"He has very creative and imaginative ideas," the county executive said. "I will consult closely with him."

"Pat is a very capable individual," Gorski added. "He is more than welcome in the private sector. He still wants to help in terms of regionalism, and . . . and I will confer with him," Gorski added.

Whether the work that NeMoyer would have tackled now will be done inside the administration or assigned to a new consultant candidate has not been decided, Gorski said.

As recently as Sept. 19, NeMoyer defended the regionalization job in a letter to The Buffalo News.

"Gorski presented the concept as an exciting opportunity to contribute in a significant fashion in one of the more difficult areas to confront county government," NeMoyer wrote. "He asked me to go before the County Legislature and justify his vision and my ability to contribute. I look forward to the opportunity to do both."

But public opposition to the temporary job apparently coaxed him in a different direction.

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