WHITE PLAINS, NY -- Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) and the Democratic leadership team of the BOL filed an appeal today of the decision by Westchester County Supreme Court Judge Robert A. Neary to dismiss the child care subsidy lawsuit against County Executive Robert P. Astorino. In May 2012, the Democratic BOL leaders originally brought a lawsuit in Supreme Court of the State of New York to stop County Executive Astorino and Commissioner Kevin McGuire of the County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) from raising the family share for low-income child care subsidies from 20%, as agreed upon in the adopted 2012 Budget Act, to 35%.
“There are obvious flaws in Judge Neary dismissal of this lawsuit, so moving to appeal the decision makes sense,” said Jenkins, a plaintiff in the lawsuit along with BOL Vice Chair Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon), BOL Majority Leader Peter Harckham (D-Katonah) and BOL Majority Whip MaryJane Shimsky (D-Hastings-on-Hudson). “For the sake of thousands of hard-working Westchester residents, we are seeking the utmost clarity and closure in the courts on this issue and whether the County Executive and his Administration should follow legally enacted laws by the Board of Legislators and the County Charter.”
In June, the BOL Democratic leaders were granted a temporary restraining order based on the County law that mandates that “no changes to policies, programs and services contained in the finally adopted budget shall take place without the prior approval of the County Board of Legislators.”
County Executive Astorino, claiming that the BOL did not put in enough funding in the 2012 County Budget, tried to raise the family share for child care by June 1, despite a number of inconsistencies in the financial figures that have been presented to the BOL to support the move. The funding requested by DSS to pay for child care subsidies was approved by the BOL in December 2011 after it overrode Astorino’s vetoes of two acts that restored $4.3 million of child care subsidies for low-income workers.
The Astorino Administration family share increase will add up to an extra $1,400 cost for families making about $30,000 a year.