GOP County Legislators to Democrat Colleages: Stop Playing Partisan Games with County Executive’s Appointments – Approve Ed Buroughs and Mary Mahon Immediately

January 19, 2011, White Plains, NY – The Republican members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators are sending a strong message to their Democratic colleagues to stop playing partisan political games with County Executive Rob Astorino’s appointments.

Last week, the Appointments Committee of the Board of Legislators voted 2 to 1 on a party line vote to reject the appointments of Ed Buroughs as Planning Commissioner (currently Acting Commissioner) and Mary Mahon as Director of Real Estate.  Mr. Buroughs has worked in the Planning Department for 16 years, is a highly respected planning professional, and has served admirably under both Republican and Democratic administrations. His professional achievements have been recognized time and again.

Ms. Mahon is a long time attorney with significant real estate experience, has a real estate broker’s license and is the prior general counsel of the MTA, which has extensive real estate holdings.  The MTA General Counsel deals with complex real estate issues every day.  The Republican County Legislators maintain that these two experienced public servants have outstanding professional resumes and are fully qualified for these positions.

Minority Leader Jim Maisano stated, “My Democratic colleagues must stop the politics and partisan games, stop publicly embarrassing very qualified public servants and begin acting more responsibly.  In my 13 years as a County Legislator, we always observed the principle that the County Executive has a right to select the members of the administration.  Over several decades, the Board of Legislators has respected this tradition and dealt with appointments in a bipartisan manner.  The actions of the Appointments Committee are an embarrassment and affront to good government.  Now that Mr. Buroughs and Ms. Mahon are being reconsidered in the Appointments Committee, we expect the partisan political games to stop and that both individuals be quickly approved.”

“Unfortunately,” said County Legislator John G. Testa (Peekskill/Cortlandt/Yorktown) “At the January 10 Appointments Committee meeting the Democratic committee members chose politics over professionalism and good government. Not only did they refuse to recommend the approval of these two candidates, they produced pre-approved resolutions recommending the disapproval of both candidates and voted accordingly.” Testa is the sole Republican member of the Appointments Committee.

After significant bipartisan public opporition to the actions of the Appointment committee in rejecting these fine professional appointments, at last night’s meeting of the Board of Legislators, the vote to reject Mr. Buroughs and Ms. Mahon was cancelled and the Appointments Committee will review them again at an upcoming meeting.

“The right thing to do,” says Legislator Gordon A. Burrows (R-Bronxville/Yonkers), “Is for  the entire Board of Legislators to affirmatively vote to approve Mr. Buroughs as Planning Commissioner, and Ms Mahon as Director of Real Estate as soon as possible.”

About Legislator John G. Testa

John G. Testa, a life-long resident of Peekskill, began his first term on the Westchester County Legislature in January 2010. Prior to his successful run for the District 1 Legislative seat, he served 3 terms as Mayor of Peekskill from January 2002 until December 2007. Before becoming mayor he also served a four-year term as a Councilman. From his first days in office Testa worked tirelessly to set the City on the path of economic stability. Peekskill flourished under this plan, increasing the city fund balance to its highest in history. During John’s tenure in office, the NY State Comptroller’s Office named Peekskill one of the most fiscally sound municipalities in the State; independent auditors proclaimed Peekskill as being in its best fiscal condition in over 30 years; and Moody’s Investor Service agreed to upgrade its bond rating, resulting in further savings. The plan he put in place was so successful that it enabled the City of Peekskill to pass three budgets in a row with a 0% tax increase. These fiscal skills will prove valuable to Testa as he works to put the brakes on what has been wildly escalating county spending and unchecked government growth. He has pledged his efforts to work to consolidate services, eliminate wasteful spending and improve efficiency. In addition to the fiscal conservatism that served Peekskill so well, Testa worked to promote the city, attracting investment, jobs and an increased tax base. Over $100 million of private investment came to Peekskill in the forms of new residential construction, retail space, and the redevelopment of historic structures. As Mayor, Testa led a successful battle to stop the unfair and unsafe plan to send sewage to the Peekskill plant from outside the sewage/water district. John’s roots are deep within the soil of Northern Westchester. His father’s family has lived here for more than a century and his mother’s family is nearing that mark. He is proud that he was born in Peekskill and has lived and worked here all his life and, with his wife Nancy raised their two children here.
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