A state supreme court judge has ordered Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino to immediately begin enforcing a law changing the composition of the county contracts board. The law has been the subject of a drawn out fight between Astorino and the Board of Legislators.
The law, passed in late 2011 over Astorino’s veto, replaces Public Works Commissioner Jay Pisco on the Board of Acquisition and Contract with the budget director. Pisco serves at Astorino’s pleasure but Budget Director Larry Soule has a set term on office. The contracts board, which approves most county contracts, is made up of the county executive, the chairman of the Legislature and, until now, the public works commissioner.
Astorino long argued the law is invalid because it wasn’t put to referendum and refused to enforce it. But the judge said to use that defense he would have to bring the full Board of Legislators into the case. The original suit was brought by three Democratic leaders as individuals. Astorino declined to bring in the board and the judge disallowed his major arguments.
“The County Executive is required to implement legislative policy declarations which are not effectively vetoed or judicially invalidated,” the judge wrote, ordering Pisco to stop sitting on the contracts board.
It’s not immediately clear whether any of Pisco’s past votes on the contracts board will be invalidated. Most votes on the board are unanimous.