1/11/2010 5:01:48 PM

“I am honored to be asked to chair the Legislation Committee of the Board of Legislators. In the coming year, I would like to undertake a comprehensive review of the Westchester County Code to determine the following:

 

  • Are there County laws which are not serving their intended purpose? Are there laws we have enacted in the past which have not worked to address the problem or issue they were designed to solve.
  • Related to Item number 1, are there County laws that are not being enforced effectively. If so, we must consider why they are not being enforced, and, if they are not being enforced why do they remain on the books.
  • Are there County laws which have been pre-empted by state or federal law? If so, these laws should be repealed so they do not remain on the books.
  • Certain County laws require that reports be provided on a periodic basis? Have the required reports been provided?

This will be a ground up process that will take some time.  I am pleased that Betsy DeSoye Esq. who has been a member of the Board’s staff will be serving as counsel to the Committee. She will work on this project. We hope to recruit a number of interns from Pace Law School to assist and she will oversee the work of those interns. We also will seek the assistance and guidance of the County Attorney’s office in going forward with this project.  We will also be considering what improvements and reforms can be made in the operation and efficiency of county government through the legislative process.

In this regard, we will be working with the Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings  to examine provisions in the County Charter  regarding the formation and organization of county departments.  I look forward to the contributions of each member of the committee. We will consider legislative proposals from every legislator. In considering proposed legislation, I will urge that we focus on whether the proposed legislation is a proper subject for Westchester County to address and whether the legislation can be effectively enforced in a cost effective manner. A cost/benefit analysis must be conducted with respect to any proposed legislation to ascertain the fiscal impact of the legislation versus its potential benefits. We should also recognize that as a county government, we cannot solve all problems. Some problems can be more effectively addressed at the state, federal  and on local municipal levels.

We will initially focus on a number of items that were held over from the last session. These include item pricing, source of income, regulation of fire suppression device installers and inspectors to name a few.

We are also required by the affordable housing settlement to amend the ‘right of first refusal’ law entailing that the county first offer real property  that it seeks to sell to a municipality before it sells the real property  to a third party. The settlement agreement requires that the County amend this law to make an exception for property to be sold for affordable housing.”

 

BACKGROUND:

The Committee on Legislation is the clearinghouse for either new county laws or proposed amendments to existing laws.  The Committee will determine if proposed legislation is in keeping with the Westchester County Charter. In addition to reviewing legislation sent to it, the Committee will also write and develop legislation to address emerging and critical issues that impact the quality of life, health, safety and welfare of Westchester residents.

Nonna, the former Mayor of Pleasantville, has served the Board as Chair of the Subcommittee on Litigation. John has practiced law for over 30 years in the area of dispute resolution. He has represented Fortune 500 companies in major litigation and arbitration and is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.