YONKERS — Officials here hope to create a new tribunal to quickly process routine “quality of life” complaints that have clogged the docket of an overburdened Yonkers City Court.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill amending the state’s General Municipal Law to authorize the creation of a Yonkers Bureau of Administrative Adjudication. The bureau’s tribunal would be staffed with administrative law judges who would handle civil complaints involving violations of the city code, such as garbage, noise and other quality of life concerns. (It would not handle building code cases.)
Supporters said the tribunal, which is based on a successful model in Buffalo, will save city residents time and money by allowing their complaints to bypass a backlogged court.
Yonkers’ state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins and state Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, both of Yonkers, sponsored the bill.
Previously, Mayor Mike Spano had championed the legislation as a state Assemblyman.
“This bill is a victory for tenants in Yonkers, who will receive decisions regarding housing and code violations more efficiently and effectively,” Mayer said.
She added that the tribunal “will allow (residents) to resolve housing conflicts with less time and cost, and which will provide the city with penalties and fees if they are warranted.”
Stewart-Cousins said: “The heavy case load of the Yonkers City Court slows down the judicial process and delays clearing up violations needed for an improved quality of life. The Administrative Adjudication Bureau will lessen the burden on the City Court by taking over minor code and ordinance violation cases. This will raise much needed revenue for Yonkers while addressing violations more quickly–a win for everyone.”
Spano said: “This is an opportunity to build upon our continued efforts to improve the quality of life that Yonkers residents deserve and are entitled to. I applaud our state delegation for following through on this legislation that will lead to a more efficient process in providing cleaner and safer neighborhoods.”