The Suffolk County Legislature recently adopted a resolution requiring the Ways and Means Committee to let all county legislators know when any county legal claim settlements costing more than $750,000 will be discussed in executive session prior to their being approved.
Legislator Susan A. Berland (D-Dix Hills) sponsored Resolution 1745-2018 to amend the rules, and it was adopted Oct. 2. While the full Legislature must approve any settlement above $25,000, many legislators were surprised when their first hint of having to pay a large settlement was when a resolution was introduced to bond a $10 million settlement where payment had been recommended by the county attorney’s office.
Under this rules change, members will be notified when such a settlement is up for discussion at the Ways and Means Committee and have the chance to attend the executive session where the settlement will be discussed.
The change gives each legislator the opportunity to hear the facts of the case before a payment resolution is presented to the full Legislature. “I want to thank my colleagues for recognizing the need for all legislators to be informed of settlement discussions prior to voting on settlement resolutions,” Berland said.