For Immediate Release
Dated: February 28, 2011
Contact: Jim Maisano, 914-995-2826
GOP County Legislators to Democratic Colleagues: “Please don’t allow Chairman Jenkins to turn our County government into the hyper-partisan and dysfunctional governments we see in Albany and Washington, DC – pass legislation to properly defend CSEA lawsuit!”
The Republican Members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are asking their Democratic colleagues to oppose Chairman Ken Jenkins’ troubling actions that reflect the hyper-partisan and dysfunctional governments we sadly see in Albany and Washington, DC. The Republican County Legislators were shocked by a press release issued on February 24, 2011 by Chairman Jenkins relating to the retaining of legal counsel by the County Executive and Board of Legislators to defend the County in a lawsuit brought by CSEA union workers. Remarkably, Chairman Jenkins took the irresponsible position in his press release that he would not support the decades-long and bipartisan tradition of retaining outside counsel on legal actions against the County, when the County Attorney identifies a legal conflict between the County Executive and Board of Legislators.
On behalf of the Republican County Legislators, Minority Leader Jim Maisano (R, New Rochelle/Pelham) stated: “The Jenkins press release demonstrates that his real goal for Westchester is dysfunction, reckless partisanship and bad government. I have served on this Board for 14 years, and the procedure for dealing with conflicts of interest in lawsuits against the County, which prohibit the County Attorney from representing both the County Executive and Board of Legislators, based on very clear legal ethics rules for New York State attorneys, is that the County hires different outside counsel to represent each branch. This was the procedure over the past two decades regardless whether the County Executive, Board of Legislators and County Attorney were Democrats or Republicans. Chairman Jenkins now seeks to violate this important policy that was based on a respect for legal ethics and good government. The most outrageous aspect of the Jenkins press release is that it was Ken Jenkins who caused the conflict between the branches when he forwarded an unauthorized letter to the County Attorney on January 28, 2011 with instructions relating to the defense of the lawsuit – prior to the Board of Legislators meeting to discuss and then voting to take a position on how best to defend the lawsuit. We are asking the Democratic County Legislators to stand up to these irresponsible actions by Chairman Jenkins, put the taxpayers before his partisan games, and ensure that the procedures, laws and precedents of the Board of Legislators and County are properly followed. We need to pass the necessary legislation immediately to ensure the County and its taxpayers are well-represented in this lawsuit, especially since all parties must appear in court in only three days.”