Action Follows Media Report Of Possible Misuse Of Funds

New City, NY (May 17, 2018) – The Rockland County Legislature is requesting that County Executive Ed Day veto a contract with the Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. following reports of allegations of misuse of funds, including taxpayer dollars.

If the contract has already been approved, the Legislature will vote to rescind it at its next full board meeting on June 5.

The Legislature is acting in response to today’s report in the Journal News and that WestCOP, as the agency is known, has allegedly mishandled public money intended mostly for the needy.

The Legislature approved a resolution that allows the County Executive to enter into a $166,315 contract with the organization at its Tuesday meeting. Approval of the contract was requested through the county Department of Social Services.

DSS determined that WestCOP was the “sole source provider” for vital services, including crisis intervention, information and referral, assistance with applications, preventing eviction, housing referrals and senior citizen services to residents of Rockland County.

A sole source provider refers to an organization that has been determined to be the only such organization able to provide certain services.

“We are shocked and, frankly, disappointed by the allegations of the misuse of funds by WestCOP,” Legislator Toney L. Earl said. “People depend on the services it provides. We do not intend to allow Rockland County tax dollars to be used by the agency until we are satisfied the funds are being used properly.”

Minority Leader Legislator Lon Hofstein said the organization’s alleged financial issues now put Rockland in a difficult position because the services WestCOP was providing still need to be provided.

“Based on the information made available to us, we cannot authorize funds to be disbursed to WestCOP,” Legislator Hofstein said. “It is the people’s money and we have a fiduciary responsibility to watch over it carefully and be assured it is being distributed properly.”

Both legislators said they would work with the County Executive and DSS as a new service provider is identified.

According to the Legislature’s Legal Counsel, the Rules of the Legislature allow the Legislature to recall any approved resolution upon the motion of any legislator at a meeting of the full Legislature. A simple majority vote at any time prior to the return of the resolution from the County Executive allows such action.

If the County Executive has already returned the resolution, either signed or unsigned, the Legislature can vote to rescind the resolution at its next meeting.

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