To the Editor of Rockland Voice
From: Jim Flynn – Nanuet, NY.
An Open Letter to Legislator Jay Hood
Legislator Hood – Please Play Nice!
Legislator Hood: I have read your article in the Ramapo Times from January 30th 2015 and was shocked by the title ‘Hood Condemns Day’s Unlawful ‘Power Grab’. I would be dismayed to find out that this wording was selected or even approved by you. Whereas you have the right to disagree with County Executive’s actions I expect everyone to work together as professionals to fix the mess that has been created.
In your first couple of paragraphs you make certain unsubstantiated claims, one being that the letter to the Towns concerning charge-backs was sent without the knowledge or approval of the Legislature which you claim has the sole authority to decide such matters.
According to the the County Executive’s office you, along with the rest of the legislators, were informed by the County Attorney the day before the press release that the Court of Appeals decision was applied here and the legality was specifically laid out for them. Now although you have the right to challenge this opinion, you are not the judge deciding this case.
Thus to state definitively that the County Executive is acting unlawfully is outrageous especially from an attorney like yourself who has full knowledge that the County Executive had a legal opinion based on a recent Court of Appeals’ Decision to support his actions. It is scary such to see such a near libelous comment made in this situation by an attorney.
Now while I am not trained in the legal profession I did read Chief Judge Lippmann’s final sentence regarding offsetting sales tax revenue which states – “As a result, the County may offset the amounts owed by the town and a specific resolution is not required.” This would appear in my opinion to negate your position that the County Executive acted alone and outside the parameters of the law and government. I would hope that you have read the County Attorney’s legal opinion and of course the Court of Appeals’ Decision but based on your comments I am not convinced that you did.
You are currently the Town of Haverstraw’s Town Attorney and as such you give that Town legal advice and handle its law suits. Do you not feel you have a conflict of interest in this matter? Perhaps you should be abstaining in this matter especially in the realm of public comment? Situations like this only demonstrate the rationale for ‘The Two Hat Rule’ which you oppose. How can you serve two masters in cases like this?
If, despite the conflict of interest, you are going to make statements such as you did, you should be very clear that they are just your opinion and are not necessarily facts given other attorneys and judges appear to disagree with you.
Instead of spending time passing a resolution condemning the County Executive, which would appear to be crude political pandering, why not simply pass a law or binding resolution that NO charge backs are to be levied. As a taxpayer it makes no difference to me whether the Town or the County pays the bill – it will still come out of my pocket.
James J Flynn