A state appellate court has reversed a lower court decision changing the composition of the three-member board that approves most Westchester County contracts and sent it back to a lower court to be decided again.
County Judge Barry Warhit ruled in February with the Democratic leaders of the Board of Legislators and ordered the administration of County Executive Rob Astorino to enforce the law. But the administration appealed, saying the law was not properly enacted.
But because the administration’s defense involved the full Board of Legislators, the Appellate Division agreed with the lower court that the board was a necessary party to the lawsuit. It brought them into the case and last week sent it back to the lower court to be heard again.
The law, which was passed in late 2011 over Astorino’s veto, replaced the public works commissioner with the budget director on the Board of Acquisition and Contract. It also exempted contracts that require legislative approval from going to A & C and created a mechanism for the chairman of the Board of Legislators to add items to the A & C agenda.
Besides the budget director, the board members are the BOL chairman and the county executive. The county executive effectively has two votes and controls the board.
Alexander Eisemann, the lawyer for the legislators, said he will argue that the deadline has passed for the administration to challenge the law. The deadlines exist for a reason, he said.
“We need certainty in the laws on the books,” he said.