FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 3, 2013
Contact: Tom Staudter | ThomasS@westchesterlegislators.com | 914-995-2819 (office) | 914-419-5221 (cell)
Fact-Averse Legislators Vote against Playland Transparency and Accountability
White Plains, NY – The entire Republican caucus of the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL), along with Democrats Virginia Perez and Michael Kaplowitz, voted against and defeated a bill tonight that would have required the County’s department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation to provide a weekly report to the BOL on all revenue and attendance figures at Playland, the County’s historic 280-acre amusement park and recreation facility.
Earlier, the legislation had been approved in two BOL Committees, Budget & Appropriations and Government Operations, with Legislator Perez even voting for the bill in the former committee.
“For the Board of Legislators to perform proper oversight of Playland, it is crucial that we are able to examine the financial reports and attendance records on a timely basis,” said Legislator Judy Myers (D-Larchmont), chair of the Budget & Appropriations Committee. “It is incomprehensible that any legislator interested in good governance and open, transparent decision-making would vote against this bill. Right now, we are given piecemeal information regarding Playland that is filtered by the Astorino Administration.”
The Playland legislation would have required the Parks Department and Administration to break down and account separately revenue and cost figures for several of the attractions and features at Playland, including parking, mini golf, beach concessions, Tiki Bar, Children’s Museum and concessionaire payments. Attendance would be broken down also into all existing categories with daily figures generated by the Parks Department.
Last year, the BOL approved a separate financial and operational audit of Playland because of the paucity of information delivered to the BOL about the park.
“The legislators who voted against weekly reports concerning an important County resource have prevented diligent legislators from gaining the information they need for proper oversight,” remarked BOL Majority Leader Pete Harckham (D-Katonah). “Why would legislators want to cut off access to information?”
The weekly attendance and revenue figures required in the legislation were to also include previous years’ figures in appropriate detail for ready comparisons on a week-to-week basis.
“The best way to move forward with Playland is for the Board of Legislators and Administration to work together,” said Legislator Catherine Borgia (D-Ossining). “So far, we’ve seen too much decision making behind closed doors, and now our colleagues have decided to deny the people of Westchester basic information and accountability. Westchester residents and taxpayers, who deserve to know the real numbers at Playland, have every right to be furious over this.”
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