Judge to decide whether to dismiss Westchester contracts board case in fall

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The lawsuit by the Democratic leadership of the Westchester Board of Legislators trying to enforce a law changing the membership of the Board of Acquisition and Contract is still kicking around the court system, months after a judge briefly stopped the work of the board when the lawsuit was filed.

The lawyers for the County Executive Rob Astorino and the board members met with Judge Barry Warhit Monday morning, the deadline for Astorio’s lawyers to inform the judge whether they would ask to bring the full Board of Legislators into the lawsuit. The full board must be a party if the county executive wants to challenge the validity of the law, the board members’ lawyer has argued. Astorino’s lawyers disagree that the board must be brought into the lawsuit and declined to do so.

Astorino’s lawyers have argued the law is invalid because it was improperly enacted and he cannot be forced to implement it until it is declared valid. They initially argued the law required a mandatory referendum. Judge Warhit in April said only a permissive referendum, where voters would have to collect signatures to force a referendum, was required but the board failed to properly notify the public of the opportunity to collect signatures.

The board has since published the notice but the timing is still in contention.

Warhit said he will issue a decision in October or November on a motion to dismiss filed by Astorino.

The law, passed late last year, replaced the commissioner of the Department of Public Works and Transportation with the county budget director on the contracts board. The other members are Astorino, a Republican, and board Chairman Ken Jenkins. Another provision said the Board of Legislators can place items on the A & C agenda, which is now controlled by the county executive.

Jenkins and Legislators Lyndon Williams, D-Mount Vernon, and Peter Harckham, D-Katonah, filed the lawsuit in late March. The fight over the A & C board is one of many between the branches of government and not the only one to land in court.

The contracts board meets weekly and votes on millions in county contracts.

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2 Comments

  1. Maybe I'm Wrong? on

    Hmm. Any judge who was appointed by David Paterson, of all people, and who graduated from Wharton and Duke law, then served as a small town village justice, in County Family Court, and County Court might be considered suspect in deliberative decision making.

  2. HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller on

    Pending Matter…And, with Respect to My Country’s Judiciary I refrain to Comment or Make Any Opinions on The Matter ( unless I become “Friend of The Court” in Public Interest. So help me and US God.

    God Bless America.
    HABIBHASAN-An American Storyteller