For several years now, I have known Greenburgh Town Clerk Judith A. Beville and have known her to be a beautiful, pleasant, and well-dressed woman. I have defended her, and she has defended me at Town Board meetings.
I first ran for office in 2018, and after that run, I joined the Westchester Black Women’s political caucus. Our mission is to get black women elected to political office. I was lovingly mentored by Hon. Alfreda Williams, Hon. Jewel Williams-Johnson, Lisa Maria Nero, Hon. Eddie Mae Barnes, Jerrice Epps, Colby Jenkins, OJ Yizar, Gertie Tippett, Marilyn Gee, and so many others. We are a fellowship of women who make it our mission to get black women elected into office and support them while there.
I do not know why Hon. Judith ran against Hon. Alfreda many years ago, but I do know support for black women getting elected to political office comes from members of our caucus, and Hon. Alfreda Williams leads in those efforts. During my historic campaign against Paul Feiner, a 32-year incumbent and my being the only and first black woman to do so, I was not supported by Hon. Judith Beville as either a church sister nor did she support the historic campaign many members galvanized on as a caucus member. Our caucus mission is to get black women elected to office.
On Monday night [October 30, 2023], the Westchester Black Women Political Caucus and the NAACP White Plains Greenburgh Chapters held a candidate forum, and the following question was asked: What is the process of a resolution passed by the Town Board and how are resolutions made into law?
I, as a moderator, as well as many in the audience, could not clearly decipher that process based on answers from any elected official. The question was asked specifically of the Town Clerk candidates and both were asked to follow up with their answers. We are in receipt of one response from Lisa Maria Nero, President of the Westchester Black Women Political Caucus Greenburgh/White Plains chapter and the Democratically endorsed candidate for Greenburgh Town Clerk, and this is her answer emailed to committee members from both organizations that organized the candidate forum held on Monday, October 30.
“I would like to clarify the difference between resolutions and Local Laws and how they are adopted and filed. The process of sending resolutions from a town board to the Secretary of State for execution can vary depending on the specific procedures and requirements of the state and town.
I further researched that the Greenburgh Town Board generally adopts more than 600 resolutions and about a dozen Local Laws each year. Specifically, Greenburgh Town Board resolutions are not filed with New York State because NYS action is not needed to enforce them. However, please note that this process varies in each town and village in NYS. Town Clerks in NYS process agendas and resolutions and maintain those records in their office; unfortunately, by necessity, this has not been the case in the Town of Greenburgh in recent years.
To ensure their accuracy, completeness, and proper processing, Town Board resolutions have increasingly been handled by Town Council staff and then filed in final form with the Town Clerk, Town Attorney, and the department initiating the resolution. An example of an adopted Town Board resolution appears on the home page of the NAACP White Plains/Greenburgh Branch website under “BLM RESOLUTION.” NAACP branch members approached the Town Board with wording for the resolution, which was discussed by branch members and the Town Board, amended/strengthened by mutual consent, and adopted over the very vocal objection of Town Clerk Judith Beville at a televised Town Board meeting. To emphasize their unanimous support of the resolution, the document was lengthened to legal size and each Town Board member signed in the added space at the bottom. Signatures are not typical on resolutions but, due to the vocal opposition trying to disrupt the approval, signatures were added for emphasis of the Town Board standing with the White Plains/Greenburgh Branch in support of Black lives.
Local Laws are very different from resolutions in that timely processing with the Secretary of State is required for their enforcement. As noted, this varies with each town within the state. The Town Clerk, once the Town Board adopts a Local Law at a meeting, is solely responsible for certifying, stamping, and filing the Local Law with the Secretary of State within 20 days of adoption before the Local Law can be enforced. A 20-day clock should start for the Clerk when sitting on the dais and recording a Local Law was adopted and then the Clerk needs to ensure it is actually filed within 20 days.
Unfortunately, for example, a Local Law adopted in June 2018 was not filed with NYS until two years later, rendering the property tax-related law not enforceable against several developments, which has resulted in all Greenburgh property taxpayers (including in the six villages) paying higher property taxes, cumulatively more than $1,200,000 per year, every year, in perpetuity. Dobbs Ferry school district residents were particularly hit hard by the Clerk’s failure to timely file the Local Law, but all taxpayers are affected.
Respectfully Submitted, “
As a constituent and PAC chair for the caucus and former civic engagement chair of the NAACP, I have not received this level of clarity, and I have asked this question of several town-elected officials.
Based on our President’s submission, our next question will be what laws are passed each year and where that information is kept, as we will continue to advocate for the Town government to be made more transparent and for our representatives to lead in that effort.
I support Lisa Maria Nero for Town Clerk for the reasons mentioned, and I hope you will also.
Tasha Young, Chair Political Action, Political Action, Education, and Research Committee (PAC) Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus