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.”