As the county waits for a final court decision on legislation preventing discrimination against renters based on the source of their income, the Westchester Board of Legislators passed a resolution Monday night asking County Executive Rob Astorino to send down legislation he supports for the board to work on.
Astorino vetoed the last source-of-income legislation passed by the board in 2010 and the federal government has challenged the veto as a violation of the 2009 fair housing settlement. In May federal District Judge Denise Cote ruled that the veto did violate the settlement, which required the county executive to “promote” the legislation. Astorino appealed the decision but was denied a stay while the case proceeds.
After being threatened with contempt proceedings, at the end of August Astorino sent a letter to the board asking it to reintroduce the old source of income legislation. But board Chairman Ken Jenkins has resisted taking up the old legislation, saying he doesn’t want to waste the board’s time on a bill that will again be vetoed.
That’s why Monday the board passed a resolution directing Astorino to draft source-of-income legislation he supports within 60 days.
“The county board really needs to have legislation that the county executive would like us to enact,” said Legislator Lyndon Williams.
All but one of the board’s Republicans mistakenly voted for the initial resolution after a distracted Minority Leader Jim Maisano cast a yes vote. But after a motion for reconsideration, the vote was 10-6.
“It was just a mistake,” Maisano said. “Someone was talking to me when the votes started.”
Before the vote, Maisano said the Republicans wouldn’t support the resolution because Astorino has satisfied the government by sending down the old legislation and now it’s the Legislature’s job to develop a compromise that both sides can support.
Democratic Legislator Peter Harckham, however, said the board would not commit the resources to drafting legislation just to have it vetoed again.
“For this legislature it’s kind of like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the ball,” he said.