Actions by Board Chairman Ken Jenkins Create Conflict for County Attorney That Will Cost Westchester County Taxpayers -Democratic Majority Teams with CSEA Union in Lawsuit against County

“Taxpayers have already lost,” said Legislator Sheila Marcotte (R-Eastchester/New Rochelle), reacting to the need for both the Westchester County Executive and Board of Legislators to hire outside counsel because of a conflict of interest created by actions of Chairman Ken Jenkins and the Democratic County Legislators in siding with the CSEA union in its lawsuit against Westchester County.

“County Legislators have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers of Westchester,” stated Minority Leader Jim Maisano (New Rochelle/Pelham), “and therefore, we have a duty to taxpayers to oppose this lawsuit.  The Republican legislators have introduced a resolution for the February 14 legislative meeting, calling on the entire Board to join us in opposing the lawsuit and seeking to have it dismissed.”

In its ongoing effort to reduce the cost of county government, the Astorino administration terminated the county’s contract with the state to administer the Section 8 housing program. It cancelled the contract because the responsibility for running this federal housing program belonged to the state – not the county – and the county was losing upwards of $1 million a year when the full costs of administering the program were calculated. The contract ended on Dec. 31, resulting in the layoff of 38 county workers assigned to the program, and the state then sought proposals from non-profit agencies to run the program.

Remarkably, the Democratic legislators voted to restore the 38 positions in the 2011 county budget, even though the contract was ended and there was no work for these workers to perform.  The County Executive vetoed this fiscally irresponsible action, but the Democratic legislators overrode the veto.  The CSEA, the union representing the workers, filed a lawsuit against the county in January to have the jobs restored.

The opposing positions by the Board and County Executive forced the County Attorney to remove himself from the case on February 3rd. Under the Westchester County Charter, the County Attorney represents both the Board of Legislators and County Executive. The County Attorney then advised both sides to hire outside counsel, which will cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

“By taking a position against the county, the Democratic legislators are automatically sending a bill to taxpayers for legal fees, even if the county wins. This begs the question, who do we work for?” an exasperated John G. Testa (R-Peekskill/Cortlandt) stated.

Beyond the costly legal fees, the cost to taxpayers could be millions if the union wins. “The Democratic legislators knew full well that by overriding the veto they were inviting costly and unnecessary litigation that will waste taxpayer dollars,” said Minority Whip Gordon A. Burrows (R-Yonkers/Bronxville).

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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1 Response to Actions by Board Chairman Ken Jenkins Create Conflict for County Attorney That Will Cost Westchester County Taxpayers -Democratic Majority Teams with CSEA Union in Lawsuit against County

  1. Pingback: [New post] Actions by Board Chairman Ken Jenkins Create Conflict for County Attorney That Will Cost Westchester County Taxpayers Democratic Majority Teams with CSEA Union in Lawsuit against County | Warning … Bazzo at Work!

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