The decision this week in the case challenging the membership of the Westchester Board of Acquisition and Contract raises the question of whether the contract approval process at the county level generally needs reform.
The law that was the subject of the challenge, which replaced the public works commissioner with the budget director on A & C, was pushed for 12 years by the board’s Republicans because the budget director is more directly involved in the majority of contracts that come before the board, said Legislators Jim Maisano, the Republican minority leader.
Though the Republicans did not support the final version of the legislation because new language was inserted into a compromise bill at the last minute and it didn’t include the requirement that the change be put to referendum, Maisano said, they still think there’s work to be done on the board.
“For my entire career it’s been clear to me that A & C board is in need of reform and we should continue to look at that,” Maisano said. The reform should reflect the administrative role of the A & C board, he said. Maisano also said he doesn’t like that a non-elected official is effectively making policy.
Legislator Lyndon Williams, the Democratic vice chairman of the board, also has issues with the contracts board, which he said Republican County Executive Rob Astorino has sometimes used as a second veto.
“The A & C board was never intended to be some sort of super-legislature,” he said.
The board was set up to be ministerial, to cut down on the number of small contracts considered by the Board of Legislators, Williams said.
“It has morphed into something totally different and under this county executive he has viewed it as a super-legislatore that can override the Board of Legislators,” he said.
For a story on the ruling click here.