“I would like to thank my colleague, Legislator Pete Harckham for 8 years of hard work on behalf of his constituents in District 2 and the entire County. Peter brought dedication and an admirable work ethic to his job as Legislator and that’s why he will be successful in his new position as Assistant Director of the Office of Community Renewal. I look forward to working with Peter in his new role.
The Westchester County Charter, specifically Section 107.11. directs how the Board of Legislators should fill vacancies within a legislative term. I was the sponsor of that piece of legislation along with Vice Chairman Jim Maisano so I can speak directly to the technicalities and the intent of the law.
The law directs that if a vacancy occurs with less than seven months remaining in the term, as is the case here, the remaining sixteen Legislators will vote to appoint an individual eligible to hold the office.
An important clause which we worked into Section 107.11 is that the person selected to finish out the vacated term, may not be a candidate for public office and will not be allowed to run for the seat to which they are appointed. This meets the highest ethical standards and transparency possible for a political appointment by giving the Legislators the freedom to select the best person to fill the position without impacting the general election which is just over 4 months away.
WPCNR COUNTY CLARION LEDGER From Michael Kaplowitz, Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. May 22, 2015:
While no one has been identified yet to replace Legislator Harckham, I am committed to appointing a member of the Democratic Party, which is the political party chosen by the voters in District 2 in the 2013 general election. I have already begun discussions with BOL leadership and I anticipate having the position filled for our regularly scheduled BOL meeting on June 15th.
The appointee to the vacated seat will relinquish the office to the winner of the November 3rd election when the election is certified. According to NY State law, elections must certified by December 1st which means the Legislator who is elected by the public will be in place to vote on the 2016 County budget.”