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Rockland Wins Appeal of Bus Transit Lawsuit

Appellate Court upholds county’s bidding process but Brega also considers decision a victory

 

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.

JLeo April 24, 2013 at 11:11 PM
So Nicolai's decision was wrong, the County Executive and the purchasing department were right. The County Executive does not have to sign anything except maybe having a new RFB put out.....it stinks but there is only one person to blame....and it's not Mr Vanderhoef or Mr Brennan.
willie 6 April 24, 2013 at 11:20 PM
HEY SMITH i am still waiting for your BUS !
JLeo April 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM
So Mr Dorfman considers this a win, so if Brega won the case he looses? Must be some kind of new way of reading a Courts decision. The Court found you were totally wrong unanimously, but you say you won. What am I missing here Vanderhoef said that he has asked the Department of Law to carefully review the decision and consider what steps the County should take next with regard to a new transportation contract. This statement does not sound like someone that is ready to just hand it to Brega Transpotation.
JLeo April 24, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Hi Willie, my bus will be on time, can't speak for the other carrier
JLeo April 24, 2013 at 11:49 PM
So Mr Vanderhoef should keep his word, below is a resolution dated April 16, well after the meeting Vanderhoef's office had with some legislators. Did they keep their end of the bargain? Introduced by: Hon. Frank Sparaco, Sponsor Hon. Edwin J. Day, Sponsor Hon. Alden H. Wolfe, Co-Sponsor 12B: AMENDED', NEW BUSINESS Referral No. 2994 March 5, 2013 RESOLUTION NO. 129 2013 THE LEGISLATURE OF ROCKLAND COUNTY HERE BY DIRECTS THAT THE COUNTY ATTORNEYS OFFICE AND COUNTY EXECUTIVE COMPLY WITH RESOLUTION 457 AND THE FEBRUARY 25, 2013 ORDER OF JUDGE NICOLAI, THAT THE LEGISLATURE DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE COUNTY ATTORNEY, THE COUNTY EXECUTIVE AND OUTSIDE COUNSEL TO FILE, AN APPEAL or THE FEBRUARY 25, 2013 ORDER AND THAT THE APPEAL OF THE MARCH 30, 2012 BE DISCONTINUED AS BEING MOOT AS A RESULT OF THE FEBRUARY 25, 2013 ORDER
Thom Jones April 25, 2013 at 11:36 AM
How can Dorfman win when he's a bona fide loser? The pdf file above clearly states that Brega / Dorfman lost. Why in the world should the contract be given to them? Let's not let Dorfman participate in yet another ponzi scheme. He already owes private contractors for the others and we don't need Rockland County added to the list. This contract should be rebid.
Maria Sardone April 25, 2013 at 01:07 PM
I think the Elected Legislatures owe an apology to Mr. Brennan - their negative comments were very unprofessional during the whole process. Let's see if Mr. Brega really has the ability to properly run the business system - time will tell
JLeo April 25, 2013 at 06:35 PM
Maria, Mr. Brennan will not get an apology, but if the Legislature would allow his department to choose the winner of the transit contract, like it is supposed to work, that would make up for all they did to Mr Brennan and his people.

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