June 7, 2023
914 Politics

Borgia Fights To remain Chair Through Courts; Court Delays BOL Vote Til Friday

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As reported this morning, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) was scheduled to vote on a resolution at 4pm this afternoon to remove Catherine Borgia as chair of the board effective immediately, with Vice Chair Nancy E. Barr to serve temporarily as acting chair.

At 12:06PM, Borgia, filed a CPLR Article 78 and an action for Declaratory Judgment in Westchester County Court through her attorney Michael L. Tawil to prevent and enjoin the BOL ‘Special Meeting’ scheduled for April 26, 2023, at 4 PM and to declare that the stated purpose of the ‘Special Meeting’, to wit, the Removal of the Chairwoman Catherine Borgia from her office as chair is illegal and without legal authority Under the Charter of the County of Westchester (the Charter) as well as the Rules governing Westchester County Board of Legislators (the Rules), and that any such action be deemed null and void as a matter of law.

Westchester County Court Judge, the Honorable Robert J. Prisco, AJSC stayed the vote until after his written decision on the preliminary injunction at 2pm Friday, April 28th.

“We opened their special meeting and immediately adjourned. Tyrae Woodson-Samuels walked out in disgust,” Legislator Damon Maher shared with Black Westchester. “I was the only “No” vote on the adjournment as a protest of the protest of judiciary encroachment on the inner workings of our co-equal legislative body.”

On Tuesday, April 25th the BOL wrote a resolution to suspend¬County Board Rúles 9, 17 19 with regard to the April 26, 2023, 4pm Special Meeting to remove Borgia as chair of the BOL.

Borgia’s compliant argues that The Charter §107.21 that enumerates the specific powers of the members of the BOL and of the BOL as a body in #9

  1. The Rules set forth all of the procedures that may be taken by the BOL, including a procedure to replace the Chair only in the case of a vacancy in the office of the Chairman, or in the instance of the Chair or the BOL’s presiding officer voluntarily leaving the office thereof. However, the rules have no procedure for the forced removal of the Chair by the BOL during the term of the Chair.

I reached to a few other legislators, Woodson-Samuel just expressed his frustration off the record but did confirm he did walk out of the chambers in disgust and James Nolon simply shared with Black Westchester;

“Due to the pending litigation, I don’t want to comment on this at this time. We’ll continue this on Friday.”

We reached out to Chairwoman Borgia who simply shared with BW,

“I’m waiting for the process to conclude.”.

The BOL is arguing Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure, (“Mason’s”) Sec. 586(1): “It is an almost invariable rule in legislative bodies of the United States that the bodies have full authority concerning the selection of their officers” and further, Mason’s Sec. 581 governs removal of the presiding officer by a majority vote of the Board.

We been told the Mason’s Manual of Legislative Procedure overrides the aforementioned part of the Charter.

One thing is for sure, that’s Catherine Borgia lives to serve as Chair of the BOL for at least another 48 hours.

Stay tuned to Black Westchester for more on this developing story!

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