The Office of the Westchester County Executive and the Office of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are prolific generators of press peleases. From time to time, Talk of the Sound just cannot keep up. Rather than catch up by ignoring the backlog, we prefer to publish the entire backlog from the past month in one shot and then get back on track with new ones. Below are recent announcements from Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino and County Republicans. For a similar batch of press releases from the Westchester County Board of Legislators and County Democrats click here.
Astorino Calls On Hud To Release $7 Million In Housing Funds
As a follow up to the victory in federal court, Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today called on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to immediately release the $7 million in affordable housing money that it has withheld in an attempt to force Westchester to take actions that go beyond the terms of the 2009 housing settlement.
Astorino said that the U.S. magistrate’s ruling last week clearly showed that Westchester County has been complying with the settlement and that it was time for HUD to start undoing the damage caused by its unilateral decision in May to withhold previously approved housing funds.
The county was forced to lay off five workers, abolish 10 jobs and curtail funds for various community organizations and many local governments as a result of HUD’s action to withhold what are called Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
“HUD’s preemptive move to try to punish the county before the court had ruled in the case was unconscionable,” said Astorino. “The primary purpose of the money was to advance the progress of the settlement, so HUD was only hurting the people it claims to help. HUD’s actions were purely an attempt to get the county to do things that were not in the settlement. I took a principled stand to say HUD was overreaching. The court agreed. Now it is time for HUD to release the money and put its energies toward actually helping to build affordable housing.”
On Friday, Westchester County won a major victory in court when the federal magistrate in the case ruled that the monitor selected by HUD “erred in concluding that the County Executive violated the settlement.”
Astorino said he is sending a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan asking him to release the money immediately and he is also calling on the entire Westchester congressional delegation to intervene if the money is not released promptly.
“Going up against HUD has been like David against Goliath,” said Astorino. “But with the ruling by the magistrate, there is no good reason for HUD to withhold affordable housing money that it had promised to the county and our communities three years ago. It is time for the Congressional delegation to step up and be counted on the side of Westchester’s residents.”
HUD and the monitor had argued that the 2009 settlement compelled Astorino to sign source of income legislation that would have required property owners to accept government vouchers as rental payments, as well as the regulatory obligations that go with them.
Astorino challenged the federal government’s contention, saying that the settlement only called for the county executive to “promote” the source of income legislation “currently before the Board of Legislators” back in 2009 and that former County Executive Andrew Spano, who approved the settlement, met that obligation at that time.
U.S. Magistrate Gabriel Gorenstein sided with Astorino, saying: “We conclude that the parties did not intend the County’s duty to ‘promote’ obligated the County Executive to sign source-of-income legislation passed by the BOL.”
The magistrate also said that Astorino was within his rights to veto source of income legislation in July 2010 and supported that decision with case law, stating: “Courts must abide by the express terms of a consent decree and may not impose supplementary obligations on the parties even to fulfill the purposes of the decree more effectively.”
Gorenstein’s opinion then goes on to state: “Accordingly, we conclude that the able Monitor erred in concluding that the County Executive violated the Settlement by vetoing the source-of income legislation enacted by the BOL.”
Astorino vetoed the source of income legislation that came before him 2010 calling it “hopelessly flawed.”
“My decision was based on my belief that the legislation was a violation of basic property rights,” Astorino said. “Landlords who want to accept federal vouchers are free to do so, but it should not be compelled. This was a governmental intrusion that had the unintended consequence of actually working against the settlement because it would have made housing more expensive and less available.”
With respect to the zoning portion of the case, the magistrate ruled that the monitor is entitled to information with respect to zoning practices. The county believes this requirement was met on Feb. 29 (after the court papers were filed) when it submitted to the monitor its extensive review of 43 municipal zoning ordinances covering 853 zoning districts.
The county is awaiting HUD’s response and will continue to work cooperatively with the monitor and HUD going forth, Astorino said.
Despite HUD’s legal challenges, the county is ahead of schedule with respect to the settlement’s fundamental requirement of developing 750 units of fair and affordable housing over seven years in 31 mainly white communities. The agreement includes benchmarks for financing and obtaining building permits that must be in place by the end of each year. It also requires the county to market the housing in a way to primarily reach African Americans and Hispanics not only in Westchester but also in New York City and surrounding counties. The county faces severe financial penalties if it fails to meet certain benchmarks.
As of this month, the county has 206 housing units approved by the federal housing monitor, of which 196 have all financing in place and 108 units have building permits in place. Under the terms of the settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the county was only required to have 100 units with financing and 50 units with building permits by the end of 2011. The settlement calls for 200 units with financing and 125 with building permits by the end of 2012. The county expects to meet these benchmarks this spring, almost a year ahead of schedule.
Statement from Ned McCormack, Westchester County Communications Director, on the lawsuit by three Democratic members of the Board of Legislators regarding the Board of Acquisition & Contract:
Westchester County will go to the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court to vacate a temporary restraining order (TRO) obtained today by three Democratic county legislators from a lower court in a case focusing on the county’s Board of Acquisition and Contract (A&C).
The county is seeking immediate relief because the ruling effectively paralyzes normal county activities, as the TRO prevents the A&C board from acting on any matter except the “immediate – and only immediate -- health and safety needs” of the residents of Westchester County.
A conference on the TRO is scheduled for April 9. However, the county will seek to have Judge Barry Warhit’s order vacated on appeal before then.
Contrary to the statement by Board of Legislators’ Chairman Ken Jenkins that his lawsuit is “an important step forward for the people of Westchester,” the opposite is true. Until the next legal ruling, progress on critical county contracts must come to a halt under the TRO. As a result, many county services are in jeopardy as are the livelihoods of the people and businesses involved with the contracts.
The A&C board deals with virtually every kind of government service, including transportation, health, public safety and social services. A sample of items – now frozen as a result of the judge’s ruling – from today’s agenda include the following:
· Rental space for Civil Service Exam for correction officers candidates, for which 7,000 people have signed up
· Group transportation services for seniors
· Engineering services for odor control at the North Yonkers pump station
· Agreements with the Westchester Library System, the Don Bosco Community Center of Port Chester, the Hudson River Museum, among others
· Guide railings on the Bronx River Parkway.
Ultimately, the Astorino administration is confident that it will win on the merits of its position that the law the Board of Legislators enacted to change the composition of the A&C board is not legal.
For more than 20 years, the county Law Department – under Republican and Democratic administrations – has maintained that any change in the charter that curtails the power of one branch of government must be subject to mandatory referendum by the voters.
These three legislators are usurping the authority of the people and the county executive and flaunting their own responsibilities to follow lawful procedures for adoption of the law.
The legislation passed by the Board of Legislators never went to a vote of the people through a mandatory referendum, which is required by law. Because the BOL did not follow the law, the legislation is null and void.
This entire exercise is nothing more than an attempt by members of the BOL to usurp power that belongs to the people of Westchester.
Astorino Declares April “Earth Month,” Saying One Day Is Not Sufficient To Recognize The Major Environmental Events Going On In County
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino is declaring April Earth Month.
“Earth Day is April 22, but Westchester has enough environmental initiatives slated for April to fill a whole month,” Astorino said.
the opening of the long-awaited new household materials recycling center
a celebration of 50 years of county parks
a massive parks clean up effort that is expected to draw more than 1,000 people
the opening of the last remaining large section of the combined South and North County trailways (three decades in the works)
the actual Earth Day festivities at Kensico Plaza.
“We have five major environmental initiatives happening in April, and they all reinforce the basic message of Earth Day: There are things large and small that we can do every day to protect our planet,” Astorino said.
Here are the highlights of the upcoming events. (Go to westchestergov.com for the latest information as it becomes available.)
County Parks 50th Anniversary
Fifty years ago, the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation (PRC) was created. Throughout this year, the department is celebrating its 50th anniversary with more than HYPERLINK "http://parks/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1824&Itemid=4033" \o "http://parks/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1824&Itemid=4033" 50 events planned for people of all ages. The celebration kicks off on Wednesday, April 11, as the Friends of Westchester Parks hosts its annual gala reception at the Glen Island Harbour Club. The event will include a look back through the years at the people, places and events of a half-century of PRC.
New Household Materials Recovery Facility
The county’s new state-of-the-art Household-Material Recovery Facility – or H-MRF – located on the Grasslands Reservation in Valhalla will officially open on Tuesday, April 12 and will be open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Run by the Department of Environmental Facilities, the H-MRF is the place to bring your hard-to-get-rid-of household waste on a year-round basis.
This includes household chemicals, cleaning products, pesticides, tires, re-chargeable batteries, Freon-containing items, appliances, electronic waste, propane tanks and over-the-counter medications. Prescription medicines can be brought on the first Tuesday of every month. The county’s shredder will be available on all dates.
The H-MRF operates on an appointment-only basis. It is open to all county residents – although people in the seven communities that are not part of the county’s Refuse Disposal District (Bedford, Lewisboro, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers) will be a fee (for example, 75 cents per pound for most items; $5-10 for each appliance). The residents in the other communities pay refuse district property taxes, so they will not be charged for this service.
Pitch in for Parks
Each year as many as 1,500 volunteers come out for the Annual Pitch in for Parks event, sponsored by the county’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation . This year’s event will take place Sunday, April 15. Volunteers in this program play an active role in the stewardship of the more than 18,000 acres of Westchester County parks, trails and nature centers. They can choose a favorite park and help with such tasks as trail clearing and pruning, flower bed preparation, debris removal, staining, painting, sweeping and cleaning.
For more information or to sign up for a specific project call (914) 864-7318.
Sunday, April 22 is Earth Day not only in Westchester and the United States, but around the world. The county’s celebration takes place at Kensico Dam Plaza from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is sponsored by the Department of Environmental Facilities, the county’s parks department and the Friends of Westchester County Parks. There will be live entertainment, kids’ activities, informational exhibits, a farmer’s market, among other things. A highlight of the event is the presentation by County Executive Astorino of the county’s annual Earth Day awards for environmental achievements, community programs and successful grass-roots efforts.
The idea of building what has become the 45-mile North and South County Trailway began in the early 1980s, when the county first looked into acquiring the Putnam Division Railroad’s right-of-way. Several phases of design and development spanning more than 30 years followed and culminated in this premier bicycle and pedestrian path. A ribbon-cutting for the final major segment of the project will be held on the path at the Yonkers site on Monday, April 30 at 11:30 a.m.
The trailways meet at Old Saw Mill River Road, at the border of Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh. The combined trailway extends between Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and the Putnam County line in Somers. Putnam County has extended the trailway north to Brewster. The only remaining work is a half-mile “missing link” segment from Rt. 119 in Elmsford to Warehouse Lane in Greenburgh. The south trailway portions were designed piece-by-piece by the county Department of Planning; construction was overseen by the Department of Public Works and Transportation. The north section was built by the state. Both North and South County trailways are maintained by the county Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation.
Astorino Calls For Legislators To Stop Stalling 53 Capital Projects
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino today called on the Board of Legislators to act now on 53 capital projects totaling more than $67 million that have been stalled for months by the Democratic- controlled legislature.
“The public deserves action by the Board of Legislators on these important capital projects that will improve our roads, parks and public buildings; enhance the delivery of government services; protect public safety and the environment; and put people to work,” said Astorino. “These projects have been before the board for months. If the Democrats don’t like them, then they should vote the projects up or down. The public deserves action, not excuses.”
The projects would provide jobs to more than 500 construction workers in various trades, including paving, masonry, plumbing and electrical. Some of the projects have been before the board for more than a year.
Among the 53 projects awaiting board action are:
$2,400,000 to resurface South Division Street/Crompond Road in Peekskill
$2,375,000 for improvements to Palmer Road in Yonkers
$2,960,000 for replacement of a bridge on Elm Street in Tuckahoe
$3,262,000 for improvements in the picnic area, playgrounds, landscaping and electrical work at Kensico Dam Plaza
$2,360,000 for an improved water irrigation system at Dunwoodie Golf Course
$940,000 to improve elimination of inflow and infiltration at the Blind Brook Sewage Treatment Plant
$450,000 for new equipment for the Department of Labs & Research to aid public health and forensic science.
“With high unemployment and historically low interest rates, this is the time to make these types of investments,” said Astorino.
Today’s scheduled meeting of the Board of Legislators’ Committee of the Whole, Astorino noted, presented “the perfect opportunity for the board to stop delaying and start acting on behalf of the residents of Westchester County.”
More than half of these projects are resubmissions that the Board of Legislators failed to vote on last term. All 53 projects went through the county’s capital projects budget process, as mandated by the county’s charter.
Astorino: Consumer Protection Dept. Makes Sure You Get What You Paid For
When you shop, you expect to get what you paid for and be charged the correct price. But how do you know if the pound of meat you just bought is really a pound or if that gallon of gas you just pumped was really a whole gallon? How can you be certain that at the cash register at the front of the store is ringing up the same prices posted in the aisles?
In Westchester County, it is the job of the Department of Consumer Protection’s Weights and Measures division to make sure that you get what you pay for and that you are charged correctly.
“Whenever money changes hands, consumers in Westchester have the right to be treated fairly,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “To make sure that happens, inspectors from Consumer Protection visit every supermarket, delicatessen and gas station at least once a year. And they do this at no cost to taxpayers, as the department generates revenues to offset all costs.”
John Gaccione, acting director of Consumer Protection, explained that it is the job of the Weights and Measures division to enforce the state’s New York State Agriculture and Market Laws along with the county’s Consumer Code. In addition to the annual inspections, the department responds to complaints from consumers.
“A typical supermarket inspection includes testing scales, verifying packaged goods for accurate weight and proper labeling and checking the expiration dates on perishable items,” Gaccione said. “Checkout scanners are tested by randomly selecting 50 to 100 items and comparing the shelf price to the scanned price.”
The department also checks gas pumps, home heating oils truck meters, luggage scales at the Westchester County Airport and shipping scales at UPS and FedEx, jewelry stores that weigh precious metals and scales in pharmacies.
“In a gas station, besides checking that the pumps are accurate, price signs are checked for accuracy, storage tanks are checked for water contamination and samples of gas are randomly taken for quality testing,” Gaccione said.
When a scale or gas pump passes inspection, the inspector will place a seal on the device denoting the month and year of inspection.
The Consumer Department generates its revenue from home improvement licensing fees, penalties and fines, and from fees collected for inspection of weighing and measuring devices.
Tips for a smart consumer:
When pumping gas, make sure that you or the attendant is using the correct pump and that the octane rating and the price per gallon is clearly marked on the pump. Make sure before squeezing the handle the pump reads zero. If you pay by credit card, check the receipt to be sure that the amount billed is equal to the amount on the pump.
When shopping for items that are sold by weight such as produce, watch the scale and the amount registered. The scale should be placed so you can see the weight and the price per pound and total price. Make sure the scale shows a zero or a minus sign before anything is weighted. If you have any questions about how a store weighs or measures its products, ask the manager for information, and if the problem isn’t resolved, contact Consumer Protection for advice or assistance.
Take advantage of customer price scanners and make sure that the price that scans is equal to or less than the shelf price for that item. Many retailers in the county are now using customer price scanners instead of individually price marking items.
For more information contact the department at westchestergov.com/consumer or by calling (914)995-2155.
Astorino Announces County Youth Employment Initiatives
County Executive Robert P. Astorino today announced four initiatives designed to help teenagers and young adults get summer jobs and internships.
“The best way to combat youth unemployment is by creating job opportunities,” Astorino said. “These programs are designed to make it easier for businesses to connect with qualified teenagers and young adults.”
The programs will be discussed on Wednesday during the Business Networking Program’s breakfast, sponsored by the Business Council of Westchester. The meeting, at Doral Arrowwood in Harrison, will begin at 7:30 a.m., with the discussion of these programs scheduled for the end of the meeting at 9 a.m.
Marsha Gordon, president of the council, said, “The Business Council of Westchester is pleased to be part of these initiatives, which create an environment for young people to grow their careers.”
The programs are:
The College Internship Program, a clearinghouse to match college students with businesses in Westchester and Putnam that are seeking interns. The clearinghouse will provide local college students internship opportunities with local businesses. Businesses may list paid and unpaid internship opportunities at a Web site that will soon be launched. Colleges and their students will be able to post resumes, review and apply for internship opportunities. These resumes will be screened by the program’s coordinator. The program was created at the suggestion of the Business Council of Westchester’s Coalition for Business Development and put in place by the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board’s Career Connection Committee, which includes representatives of local higher education institutions, business and youth service organizations.
The Private Sector Summer Jobs Initiative, which is designed to encourage local businesses to hire youth ages 18 to 24. Last year, 184 youth were hired by 50 businesses through this program, generating about $60,000 in salaries – and 25 of these youth landed permanent jobs when the summer ended. Businesses pay the salaries; there is no public subsidy. The program, in its third year, is a collaboration of the Westchester-Putnam Investment Board and the Business Council of Westchester. Businesses interested in participating in this initiative may contact Ebony White at The Business Council of Westchester at (914) 948-2110 or list a summer job at HYPERLINK "http://www.westchestersummerjobs.com"www.westchestersummerjobs.com. Among the businesses that participated last year were: Business of Your Business, Tarrytown House Estates, Candela Systems Corporation, Collins Brothers Movers, Eco Bags, Bilinguals, Inc., Best Web, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
The Summer Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Employment Program, a summer jobs program for youth 14-20 from income-eligible families. The program, funded with state money, subsidizes the wages of the youth whose families are receiving pubic assistance or have family income under 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. (For example, for a family of four, this income is $46,100 a year.) Westchester is expected to receive about $300,000 from the state for the program, which will be distributed through contracts to local youth services providers. A list of these agencies will be available at HYPERLINK "http://www.westchesterputnamonestop.com" www.westchesterputnamonestop.com as soon as the state makes the funds available. In the interim, businesses may contact Allen Kelley at [email protected] or Milton David at HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]"[email protected]. at (914) 995-3924.
The New York Youth Works, a program to provide tax incentives for business that hire youth in New Rochelle, Mount Vernon and Yonkers. This new state program provides state tax deductions to businesses that hire a youth (ages 16-24) for six months. In order to participate, interested businesses and youth must become certified by June 30. (Go to: HYPERLINK "http://www.jobs.ny.gov/youthworks"www.jobs.ny.gov/youthworks.) The One-Stop will prepare and refer certified youth to certified businesses that participate in this program. For additional information, businesses may contact Bob Fois at HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]"[email protected] or Milton David at HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]"[email protected] , or call the One-Stop Employment Center at (914) 995-3910.
“As part of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board, I am pleased to be supportive of these initiatives to assist youth in career advancement,” said Putnam County Executive Mary Ellen Odell.
Businesses that have participated in one or more of these programs praised how they work.
“Regeneron had a very positive experience with the summer youth program in 2010, so we were very eager to participate in the program again this year,” said Nicole Pizzuo, a staffing specialist for the company. “I encourage other employers to consider taking advantage of this wonderful program.”
Mario Mirabella, the owner of MSM Design, said, “I am pleased to say that we are still connected to the candidate after her internship was completed and she returned to work with us on her winter break. I highly recommend any company looking to expand their staff for the summer to look into this excellent program.”
Astorino To Officially Open County’s New ‘H-MRF’ Center Thursday
Residents now have a year-round place to bring household chemicals, electronic waste and more
Are partially used bottles of old household chemicals and cleaners accumulating at your house, along with old TV sets, computers and stereo equipment? Are there expired medicines in your bathroom? Is your garage overrun with old tires and propane tanks or maybe confidential papers to be shredded? Were you just too busy to make it to one of the county’s household recycling events?
Help is on the way.
On Thursday at 11:30 a.m., County Executive Robert P. Astorino will officially open the county’s new state-of-the art Household Materials Recovery Facility (H-MRF), located on 15 Woods Road (on the Grasslands Reservation) in Valhalla. The opening of the facility, operated by the county Department of Environmental Facilities, is part of Astorino’s “Earth Month” initiatives this April.
“Westchester County continues to be a national leader in recycling, with a 52 percent recycling rate for 2011, compared to the 35 percent national average reported by EPA,” Astorino said. “Recycling and other activities designed to eliminate waste are not only good for the environment, but save us money. With this new facility, centrally located on the Grasslands Reservation, we are making disposal of hard-to-get-rid-of household items even more convenient.”
This includes hazardous chemicals (pesticides, flammable liquids, pool chemicals), cleaning products, tires, re-chargeable batteries, Freon-containing items, appliances, electronic waste, propane tanks and expired medications. Prescription medicines can be brought on the first Tuesday of every month. Shredding services are available every day the H-MRF is open.
Astorino reminded residents that that they should continue to put out their ordinary recyclables (papers, bottles, aluminum cans, etc.) on the regular recycling days established by their local municipality or carter. Those recyclables are brought to the county’s regular Material Recovery Center, or just plain “MRF” in Yonkers, where they are sorted and sold.
The H-MRF ( pronounced “H-MURF”) will be open every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday by appointment only. It is open to all county residents – although people in the seven municipalities that do not belong to the county’s Refuse Disposal District (Bedford, Lewisboro, New Castle, North Castle, North Salem, Pound Ridge and Somers) will be charged a per pound or per unit fee (for example, 75 cents per pound for chemicals; $5-10 for small or large appliances). The residents in the other communities pay refuse district property taxes that fund the construction and ongoing operation of the facility.
Visit: HYPERLINK "http://www.westchestergov.com/hmrf"www.westchestergov.com/hmrf or call the Recycling HelpLine at 813-5425 for more details about making an appointment, hours of operation and applicable fees.
The H-MRF is intended to replace the Household Material Recovery Days run by DEF. For now residents can still deliver waste worthy of special handling on April 27, from 12 - 4 p.m. and April 28, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. at HYPERLINK "http://maps.google.com/maps?q=playland+park+rye+ny&hl=en&sll=40.948756,-..." \o "http://maps.google.com/maps?q=playland+park+rye+ny&hl=en&sll=40.948756,-...
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These events have been very well attended, typically drawing on average more than 16,000 households. Last year the county collected over 17,000 gallons of liquid hazardous waste, 47 tons of solid hazardous wastes, 200 tons of electronics and 9,800 pounds of expired medicines.
The H-MRF cost $3 million to build; half of which will be reimbursed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, as part of an on going Household Hazardous Waste Grant Program that will also pay half of the annual disposal costs. The county expects to save money over the long term, because it costs less to operate a permanent facility than to host several collection events per year.
Much of the material that will be collected at the H-MRF gets recycled, including scrap tires, electronics, Freon-containing appliances, shredded paper and some of the chemicals. The leftover propane brought to the H-MRF from unwanted BBQ tanks will have a more immediate use; it will be used to heat the H-MRF.
Recyclables collected curbside by municipal and private carters – including newspapers, office paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal food and beverage containers – get sorted and baled at the Yonkers MRF. These materials are marketed and sold to recycling companies that use them in the manufacturing processes to produce new consumer goods. Last year the MRF processed over 76,000 tons of recyclable material, generating over $7.4 million in recycling revenue for the County. In addition, the county saves over $85 in transportation and disposal costs for each ton it recycles at the MRF.
County’s Annual Autism Fair To Take Place Sunday April 22
The Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health has once again teamed up with Navigating the Spectrum, a nonprofit agency that offers an educational forum for families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, to sponsor the Autism Information Fair, Sunday April 22, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the County Center in White Plains. The event is free and open to the public.
“This is an important annual event, where families seeking information about autism can find out about services and support in Westchester,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino.
In addition to the various information booths, this year’s event will include a panel discussion at 1:30 p.m. focusing on proposed changes in the definition of the autism spectrum diagnosis.
A free, supervised children’s play room will be available if parents want to speak to providers or attend the panel discussion without their children. For more information please call the community mental health department at 995-5220.
Judge Lifts Restraining Order In Board Of Acquisition And Contract Case
Ruling cites “fatal flaw in the law’s enactment”
The Board of Legislators’ law that aimed to change the membership of the county’s Board of Acquisition and Contract was “not properly enacted” because of a “fatal flaw,” a judge said today.
The decision is a victory for the Astorino administration and the county attorney, which had argued that the law passed last December by the Democratic-controlled Board of Legislators was invalid.
In his ruling today, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Barry E. Warhit removed the temporary restraining order he had issued last month that prevented Public Works Commissioner Jay Pisco from serving on the A&C board. The judge said the legislators failed to publish the required legal notice about the law to give the public a chance to have a permissive referendum.
While the issues of the case have to be litigated further, the judge said that the legislators who brought the legal proceeding – Board Chairman Ken Jenkins and Legislators Peter Harckham and Lyndon Williams – “cannot meet their burden” to show they are likely to win on the merits of the case and that they are therefore not entitled to an injunction.
“The administration argued from the start that this law was not properly enacted,” said Ned McCormack, communications director and senior advisor.
“If the legislators want to change the composition of the Board of Acquisition and Contract, they need to follow all legal procedures. The public is entitled to this.”
In his decision, the judge cleared the way for the A&C board to “resume meetings in accordance with the ordinary course of business.”