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Sustainable Playland Withdraws from Review Process---Legislators Exercise Due Diligence, Sustainable Playland Backs Out

Sustainable Playland Withdraws from Review Process---Legislators Exercise Due Diligence, Sustainable Playland Backs Out

On April 1st, Sustainable Playland Incorporated (SPI) announced that they would be suspending their participation in the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) review process for their proposed Playland Improvement Plan (PIP). When SPI announced that they were taking a break from the review process, they cited two unresolved legal issues as the causes, first was a lawsuit filed by an individual Legislator which had been dismissed once and then... Read more

Released:04-16-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Westchester Legislators Approve $4 million Bond for Train Station Parking Lot Rehab

Westchester Legislators Approve $4 million Bond for Train Station Parking Lot Rehab

  The North White Plains train station parking lot will undergo a major rehabilitation thanks to a $4,000,000 Bond Act that was passed by the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) on Monday, April 7th. The legislation authorizing the bond was sent to the full BOL after being reviewed and approved jointly by the Budget & Appropriations Committee and the Economic Development & Capital Projects Committee. The Infrastructure Committee also reviewed... Read more

Released:04-14-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Legislator Shimsky Attends Anti-Bullying Event

Legislator Shimsky Attends Anti-Bullying Event

  Westchester County Legislator MaryJane Shimsky and NYS Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, accompanied by Irvington Mayor Brian Smith and NY Giants punter Steve Weatherford at “Irvington Rocks!”. Read more

Released:04-14-2014 | See More _Newsroom

BOL Majority Leader Borgia Gathers Support for Increasing Minimum Age to Purchase Cigarettes

BOL Majority Leader Borgia Gathers Support for Increasing Minimum Age to Purchase Cigarettes

  Millwood, NY – Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Majority Leader Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining) gathered support for new proposed legislation to raise the minimum age required for the purchase of cigarettes and tobacco-related products in Westchester County at a special press conference today, held at a popular delicatessen here whose owner decided to stop selling cigarettes entirely five years ago. Read more

Released:04-02-2014 | See More _Newsroom

Concerned Residents Turn Out for Public Hearing On Playland Improvement Plan

Concerned Residents Turn Out for Public Hearing On Playland Improvement Plan

White Plains, NY – A capacity crowd of concerned residents turned out this evening for a Public Hearing regarding the Playland Improvement Plan, which was held in the Chambers of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) here in the Michaelian Office Building. Read more

Released:03-19-2014 | See More _Newsroom

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Democratic BOL Leaders Win A&C Court Ruling To Make County Executive Follow the Law

Gavel

Ruling brings clarity and closure

 

White Plains, NY – Acting Justice New York State Supreme Court Barry E. Warhit released his decision yesterday  in favor of the three leaders of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL)—Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Vice Chair Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon) and Majority Leader Peter Harckham (D-Katonah)—in their lawsuit against County Executive Rob Astorino regarding the County’s Board of Acquisition and Contract (A&C), which handles contracts for capital projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars yearly for Westchester.

Court Decision (pdf)

In December 2011, the BOL voted to change the composition of the three-member A&C Board, replacing the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) with the County Budget Director. Both positions are named by the County Executive and are subject to BOL approval. The County Executive and BOL Chairman make up the other two A&C members.

    

Even after the law, which the County Executive vetoed and the BOL overrode, was duly filed with New York State, and in actions clearly violating the law, Astorino continued to direct the DPWT Commissioner to sit at the A&C meetings—and vote.

     

In March 2012, the three BOL Democratic leaders filed a lawsuit to determine, once and for all, whether Astorino had to follow a duly enacted law.

    

Judge Warhit’s decision orders that the County Executive must “implement and enforce” the Resolutions, Acts and Local Laws adopted by the BOL.

    

“This ruling confirms one the major tenets of our democracy: A law is a law, and the rule of law must apply to everyone, regardless of their position or office,” said Williams, a practicing attorney. “Also, the County Attorney should have advised the County Executive to follow this law rather than ignore it. Only a court can decide a disagreement of law—not the county attorney.”

    

Exacerbating the issue further, Jay Pisco, named by Astorino as DPWT Commissioner, had his appointment sent to committee by the BOL, which the BOL did not send to Committee.  Warhit declined to rule on Pisco’s appointment, and instead rules Pisco may no longer serve on the A&C Board as a result of the court’s decision.

    

“My Board colleagues and I undertook this legal action reluctantly, after many attempts to settle our differences with the Astorino Administration,” said Jenkins. “But the Administration’s refusal to follow the law is not something that could be taken lightly. It was not just a matter of ‘running to court’ for a superfluous reason. Our oaths of office demand that we respect, follow and stand up for the law and the rules of governance as determined in the County Charter. Ignoring this law posed a grave threat to Westchester and put all of our contracts at risk.”

 

In his decision Judge Warhit agrees with the three plaintiffs that County Executive Astorino failed to enforce the provisions of a local law, thus violating his statutory duty as written as law in the County Charter.

   

The law changing the A&C Board became a major issue for the BOL when Jenkins, Williams and Harckham were troubled in February 2012 by the Astorino Administration, thus operating illegally and without transparency in the County’s Board of Acquisition & Contract (A&C), “approved” a $13 million capital project on February 16 without first presenting it to the BOL—contrary to the laws set in the County Charter—for any discussion, vetting or due diligence whatsoever regarding the funding, despite information about bonding options that could have saved the County over $1 million. As it stands, this project would be subject to a public referendum since it exceeds the County’s bond cap of ten million dollars. Moreover, the 2-1 vote at A&C included a vote from Pisco.

    

“The County Charter and local laws need to be followed for our government to work properly and our residents to have confidence in what their elected leaders are doing,” said Harckham. “Judge Warhit has provided the clarity and closure that we are seeking.”

 

 

Tags: District 2-Peter Harckham District 13-Lyndon Williams District 16-Kenneth W. Jenkins

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