Image: Wikipedia

I published a blog post two days ago about the Legislative Attorney position, found here, that concluded by stating, “[h]opefully this is the last post I will have to make on this issue, and we can all get back to doing the important and tough work we were elected to do.”

Unfortunately that is not the reality, at least for now.

What I didn’t know when I wrote the post – or when I attended a Legislature meeting on Monday night where the overall sentiment was that we could find ways to work with the Executive branch without wasting time or money on litigation – was that a lawsuit had already been filed back on March 7th and an Order had been signed by a judge on March 8th. To the best of my knowledge none of the legislators knew about the filing or Order until yesterday.

Legislator Joe Brennan expressed his belief that we could find ways to work together in a post after meeting with County Executive Moss on Sunday. The meeting occurred several days after the filing and Order had been made.

The situation has clearly changed now, and what lies ahead remains slightly unclear.

In his Petition for to the New York Supreme Court, Moss named all 15 Legislators along with the Legislative Clerk as Respondents:

The Petition itself asked the Hon. Eugene Faughnan to do three things immediately:

  • Prevent the Legislature from utilizing the services of Bryan Maggs, the appointed Attorney to the Legislature;
  • Prevent Linda Palmer, the appointed Clerk to the Legislature, from preparing resolutions, ordinances, local laws etc; and
  • Require the Legislature to serve answering papers at least five days before a hearing is held to determine several separation of powers issues.

Notably, Judge Faughnan declined to prevent the Legislature from utilizing Attorney Maggs or Linda Palmer from carrying out her duties. He indicated this by scratching out the requests when he signed his order. In other words, the vertical lines below were made by Judge Faughnan indicating that he is not granting the requested relief.

The Legislature was served with the Petition and Order yesterday. We will need to decide shortly how to proceed with preparing a response.

John Burin, Vice Chairperson of the Legislature, spoke about his reaction to the filing last evening on WETM News wherein he urged County Government to stay focused on the important issues our community is facing.

I couldn’t agree with Burin more strongly. We are going to have to address this matter in Court, but in the meantime we cannot let it derail us from the important work that needs to be done.

I spent time yesterday with BOCES New Visions students working on a number of resolutions related to the environment, will be in a meeting today with many City officials as we look toward finding ways to help shore up Elmira’s finances, and have been working closely with two CCIDA Board members to address several pressing matters related to the First Arena.

These are the things our community needs, and we cannot afford to put them on hold. I sincerely hope the spirit of cooperation discussed widely during last year’s campaign comes to fruition, but I am not going to sit around waiting for it to happen. Too much needs to be done right now.

Christina Sonsire