Republican County Legislators Prevent
Precipitous Vote on Five Resolutions
At the regular meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators on Monday, May 21, the Republican Legislators deferred a vote on five resolutions that were hastily submitted by Board Chairman Ken Jenkins earlier in the day on Monday. The Republicans cited the flawed and confusing language of the documents as well as the lack of time to review them in delaying the vote.
Republican Caucus Leader, Legislator Jim Maisano (R-New Rochelle) said, “These resolutions effectively give Chairman Jenkins authority to file suit and seek court rulings on five serious and important issues. To undertake litigation of this scope certainly requires more than a few hours of review and deliberation. We will insist that all legislators conduct their due diligence on these items, so that they can cast thoughtful votes. The fact that we are expected to vote on five resolutions after limited review is unacceptable, and our Board needs to implement controls to ensure that all legislation is reviewed in detail.”
The five resolutions that Chairman Jenkins submitted for consideration would have given him the Board’s permission to take the County Executive to court. Jenkins’ stated objective in the resolutions is to seek a “Declaratory Judgment” from a court of law to settle disagreements between the Democrats and County Executive Astorino on a range of issues from how appointments to citizen advisory boards are made to who gets to approve changes to county bus routes, and even how the historic, federal fair and affordable housing settlement is fulfilled.
Legislator Gordon Burrows, the Minority Whip and a practicing attorney said, “Because Chairman Jenkins surprised us with these resolutions just today, there has not been sufficient time to review them but my initial reaction to any request to drag the County Executive into court is, ‘have we done everything we can do to settle these issues through compromise between the two branches of government?’ Burrows went on to say, “When voters send us here to the Board of Legislators every two years, I assume that they expect us to undertake the difficult task of legislating and implementing that legislation through the mechanism of the County Charter. I am opposed to the Democrats recent approach of running to the nearest courthouse every time they don’t get what they want.”