Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced Wednesday the State Supreme Court Appellate Division Second Judicial Department unanimously upheld the county’s bidding process. The Appellate Court overturned an earlier court ruling that stated the county’s bid specifications procedure for public bus transportation violated General Municipal Law and the Rockland County Charter. The Appellate Court found the county’s bid specifications were not exclusionary and discriminatory as claimed by Brega Transport Corp. of Valley Cottage.
Vanderhoef said the ruling vindicated the county.
“We believed all along that the lower court was in error and were confident that the appellate court would rule in our favor because we carefully followed the law,” said Vanderhoef. “The court upheld the integrity of the County’s bidding process. Our overall goal has always been to secure a transportation contract with a responsive and responsible bidder that meets all the bid specifications, at the lowest cost for our transit riders. I am pleased that the court upheld my actions and the actions of the Director of Purchasing Paul Brennan, who properly carried out his duties.”
The appellate court decision outlined the history of the case and commented on the previous court decision. “Here the Supreme Court improperly shifted the burden of proof from Brega to the county. Since Brega made only conclusory assertions and failed to demonstrate that the county’s bid specifications were irrational or exclusionary, the court erred in invalidating the RFB on that basis.
Brega’s attorney Burt Dorfman of Nyack said his client considers this a victory and now they expect Vanderhoef to keep his word that if he won the appeal that he would follow through with the contract.
“Hopefully, the contract will be signed soon,” said Dorfman.
Legislator Ilan Schoenberger said he hopes the decision will lead to a final resolution of the long running dispute over the bus contract bidding process.
“Now it’s a question of processing the award,” said Schoenberger. “Now it’s in the administration’s hands.”
Vanderhoef asked the County Department of Law to review the decision and advise what next steps should be taken for a new transportation contract. Dorfman is optimistic that he will hear from the county attorney’s office soon.
County Spokesperson Ron Levine said there would not be any decisions that immediately affect riders.
“Regardless of this, the riders aren’t impacted,” he said.
“We’re very, very pleased with the victory of reaffirming our process,” said Levine.
Editor's Note: The decision is attached to this article as a PDF.