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         January 13, 2003


Nassau County Legislative Minority Leader Peter J. Schmitt (R-Massapequa), on behalf of the Legislature's Republican Delegation, today filed a lawsuit challenging the actions of the administration of County Executive Tom Suozzi in refusing to seek legislative confirmation for Suozzi's appointments to the County Planning Commission.

"Mr. Suozzi has ignored the Nassau County Charter, which requires Legislative confirmation of Planning Commission appointments, and the ongoing pattern and practice of County Executives - both Republican and Democrat - since 1945, all of whom submitted such appointments to the Legislature for confirmation," said Legislature Schmitt.

The Suozzi administration claims the section of the County Charter pertaining to the Planning Commission is silent on Legislative confirmation. The Minority on the other hand points to Section 203 of the Charter, which calls for Legislative confirmation of all County Executive appointments, unless they are specifically exempted (which the Planning Commission is not).

"The County Executive's argument against the need for Legislative confirmation of the Planning Commission is completely at odds with his actions in bringing the appointments of his County Attorney and Public Works Commissioner before the Legislature for confirmation, given the fact that the Charter is silent on these as well," pointed out Schmitt.

In conclusion, Legislator Schmitt stated that the Suozzi administration's decision to selectively interpret the County Charter compromises the principle of checks and balances between the executive and legislative branches of County government.

"This abrupt departure from 58 years of past practice seriously jeopardizes the legitimacy of the actions and decisions of the Planning Commission," said Schmitt. "Planning decisions that will affect the future of Nassau County for decades to come should not be subject to constant legal challenges. To protect our future, we sue."

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