Democrat Leader Delays Important Vote To Set Special Election, Republican Caucus Urges Colleagues to Follow the Law

 

Chamber1

At the regular meeting of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) on Monday June, 20, 2016, Democrat Majority Leader Catherine Borgia blocked a vote on the Legislation which would set the date for a special election to fill the Legislative District 14 seat of retired Legislator Bernice Spreckman.

Spreckman retired effective June 7th.  When a Legislator vacates their position during a term, the County Charter requires the BOL to select a date for a special election to take place within 90 days.  The Legislation which was to be voted on set the date for August 2nd.  The BOL will have to convene a special meeting in the coming days to take up the pending legislation again.

Chamber2Legislator Borgia wanted the special election to be held on September 13th, Primary Day, which would be well beyond the ninety day period allowed by law.  BOL Chairman Mike Kaplowitz and the majority of Legislators want to set the special election date within the 90 day time period which would give the Board of Elections sufficient time to prepare and to give both political parties time to identify and announce candidates.

Minority Leader John G. Testa (R) Peekskill is Co-Chair along with Borgia of the BOL’s Rules Committee.  “I’m shocked that Legislator Borgia would act in such a puerile manner simply because she couldn’t get the votes she needed to set the special election for the date she wanted.  We spent a lot of time listening to Legislator Borgia’s arguments in the Rules Committee.  After much discussion it was clear that the will of the Legislature was to follow the law and set the election within the 90 day period as required.”  Testa added, “Legislator Borgia has played fast and loose with election law in the past and it came back to bite her, including getting her candidate kicked off the ballot in the last election cycle.  I would have hoped hope that she was capable of learning from that mistake.  This ‘take my ball and go home’ action that she engaged in during the meeting proves that she would prefer to put politics over the needs of the people of District 14 to be represented at the BOL.”

Minority Whip Legislator Gordon Burrows reacted with disgust to Borgia’s vote blocking.  “I am shocked, frankly, that Legislator Borgia would act unilaterally to prevent a vote because she knew she was on the losing end of an argument.  No Legislator is more important than the BOL and certainly no more important than the needs of the residents of District 14.  The bipartisan coalition and leadership team on the BOL agreed that a special election on August 2nd struck the right balance with respect to the needs of the District’s residents against the time it would take for both parties to field their candidates.”  Burrows said.  “I’ve heard names from both parties bandied about for this seat yet no one has announced or begun campaigning so this is a completely fair contest.  I would encourage Legislator Borgia to help her party by supporting a candidate and discussing the issues that we are facing in Westchester County.  I believe voters have had enough of the political gamesmanship and pettiness that we saw tonight.”

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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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