WHITE PLAINS, NY --Republican Legislators have secured a commitment that there will be a vote on the new Yonkers Family Court facility at the next Board of Legislators (BOL) meeting on August 10th.
At a meeting of the Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday, committee members, Legislators Michael Smith (R) Pleasantville and Sheila Marcotte (R) Eastchester, made a motion for a committee vote that would send the lease agreement to the entire BOL for a vote. Infrastructure Committee Chair Legislator MaryJane Shimsky (D) Hastings-On-Hudson, requested that the vote be delayed pending additional information. BOL Majority Leader, Legislator Catherine Borgia (D) Ossining, also wanted the item “tabled” to a future meeting.
Legislator Bernice Spreckman (R) Yonkers voiced concern that “political grandstanding” threatened to further delay the vote on this critical Legislation. While the three Republicans could have forced the measure which they had the votes to pass, Legislators Marcotte and Smith agreed to withdraw the motion based on a commitment from BOL Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D) Somers that the item would be placed on the agenda for the August 10th BOL meeting as a “special item”. That distinction, which can only be made by the BOL Chairman, prevents an item from being arbitrarily “held over” by Legislators.
Legislator Bernice Spreckman who represents Yonkers where the Family Court is located said, “We have an agreement that has been approved by the Family Court Judges and Administrator, the County Executive and the County Planning and Law Departments. The current facility is in terrible condition and has significant security issues. The people who rely on this facility are our neighbors who are facing some of the most stressful and painful situations of their lives. I will not stand by and allow further political grandstanding and gamesmanship while those families suffer. It is time to treat this issue with the seriousness and expedience that it deserves.”
Legislator Sheila Marcotte proposed the compromise that would guarantee a vote at the next BOL meeting. “This move has been discussed for more than five years now. It is time to pass this agreement so we can move the Yonkers Family Court to a better facility that will help ensure the safety, security and dignity of those residents who need the services of Family Court and other county agencies.” Marcotte added, “Chairman Kaplowitz’ commitment to put this item on the next BOL meeting agenda, as a ‘special item’ if necessary, was a reasonable alternative to forcing a vote today.”