Legislators Have About A Week To Vote On Veto Override

They have to vote on the county executive's vetoes by Dec. 20


After Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced Wednesday afternoon that he vetoed most of amendments in the 2013 budget that passed in the legislature last week, that gave legislators until Dec. 20 to vote on whether or not to override his vetoes.

Twelve of the 17 legislators must vote in favor of the veto override for it to pass. The budget passed in the legislature by a vote of 10-7 last week.

The next legislature meeting is Dec. 18, and Legislator Alden Wolfe, vice chair of the legislature, said he’s sure there will be quite a bit of discussion that night on the county executive’s veto, but he would not say for certain if the vote will take place that night. He did say, though, that he was disappointed to learn about the vetoes.

“It’s puzzling,” Wolfe said. “The choices he’s made can put the county in a very curious position for 2013.”

One major item that came up throughout the budget process so far has been the elimination of county positions. Originally in the county executive’s proposed budget, almost 70 positions were eliminated, but the legislators restored many of those. In his vetoes, Vanderhoef kept some of the positions he originally eliminated in his proposed budget, leaving the legislators' restorations of the Sheriff’s Mounted Patrol and Patrol Officers.

Many legislators said they restored the positions because of the new contract the county signed with CSEA earlier this year in which there was an agreement for no layoffs due to budgetary reasons.

“Restoration to the positions we made make the most sense because of the union contract,” Wolfe said. “Eliminating the positions could cause a tremendous financial hole for the county in 2013.”

Many legislators felt the position eliminations were for budgetary reasons and didn’t want to go against the contract. Rockland County CSEA President P.T. Thomas said he was disappointed to see some of the position eliminations come back.

“It’s quite unfortunate,” he said. “[Vanderhoef] shouldn’t have done it. It’s going to affect the morale of the workers. If the override doesn’t pass, we will take this to court.”

Thomas said he and the CSEA feel the position eliminations are also for budgetary reasons, which the new contract specifically says can’t be done.

“It’s the county executive’s last year in office and I would think he would want to go out with a legacy of trying to help people,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he really hopes two legislators will change their vote.

One legislator who voted against the budget is Nancy Low-Hogan. The county executive didn’t announce his vetoes until around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, and Low-Hogan had an Environmental Committee meeting starting at 5 p.m., so she didn’t get much of a chance to read over Vanderhoef’s budget Wednesday night.

She said she hasn’t decided which way she’s going to vote on Tuesday, or whenever the override vote comes.

“I have to really study,” she said. “I’m going to look at everything very carefully. The legislature has a big decision coming up and I’m going to take this very seriously. I have a lot to think about before next week.”

Related Articles:

Vanderhoef Vetoes Most of Legislature’s Budget Amendments

Rich Stevens December 13, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Heres what I think is the county budget game. Just more of the same. Two of the county legislators, Schoenberg and Day are running for County Executive so they would never agree to cutting positions or eliminating programs to help right the county's fiscal mess because they will need the votes of the union and they don't want to upset any voters by cutting popular programs. Vanderhoeff is not running so he doesn't have to worry about losing union votes in an election. So Vandrhoeff presents a budget that tries to address some of the county's fiscal woes. 10 legislators vote to return a budget that restores the cuts Vanderhoeff made. Vanderhoeff vetoes the legislator's cuts. Since the legislators would need 12 votes not 10 to override the veto, Vanderhoeff's cuts stay in the budget. Then the legislators, especially the two runing for County Executiv can say to the voters, "We tried to protect your jobs, we tried to protect the programs but we couldn't get enough votes to override the County Executives veto. Then everyone is happy. Just more games. Rather than work together to slve the fiscal crisis the legislature is still playing games with the county's financial future.
Bradley Jensen December 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Time for the Clarkstown (Arab) Spring! Being physically vocal in numbers is the only way to effect real change. Comment as we wish, nothing will get done in this forum. Bankruputcy has it's place. Can't afford 18% increase.
Kevin Roy December 13, 2012 at 04:38 PM
I think Day voted against the revised budget submitted by the Budget & Finance Committee so I don't think he's going to vote FOR a Veto of the Override. However, he would be the one to tell us, but it wouldn't make sense to me.
Siobhan December 13, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Congratulations to John Moroney and Nancy Low-Hogan for having the courage of their convictions to oppose the Rockland County Budget. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Orangetown's other legislator John Murphy who preferred to vote for this outrageous plan.  What a disappointment.  This is an individual who frequently touts himself as being a friend of the underdog and the homeless veterans.   In this instance he shows that he prefers horses over seniors.  He grew up in the age of horse transportation so perhaps it is understandable. But this is what happens when there are no term limits and a legislator becomes glued to his seat and antiquated thinking. 
Michael Mandel December 13, 2012 at 07:17 PM
It is too bad we don't have term limits however when Murphy runs again we must remind the voters of his actions and vote him out of office.


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