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Top Stories 2012: Ossining Highway Boss Change Fails

Town of Ossining Highway Superintendent Michael G. O'Connor says the Town Board illegally lobbied voters in 2012 in a failed attempt to make his position appointed rather than elected
Town of Ossining Highway Superintendent Michael G. O'Connor says the Town Board illegally lobbied voters in 2012 in a failed attempt to make his position appointed rather than elected Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy Ossining Democrats

OSSINING, N.Y. – While voters rejected changing the Town of Ossining’s highway superintendent position from elected to appointed in 2012, current Highway Superintendent Michael G. O’Connor is still pursuing a lawsuit against the Town Board.

O’Connor filed the lawsuit this month, asserting that the board violated the law and lobbied in favor of the proposition. Town of Ossining residents voted 72 percent to 28 percent to reject the proposal on Nov. 6, a few days after O’Connor filed his suit in state Supreme Court. O’Connor claims in the lawsuit that the Town Board distributed postcards and press releases urging residents to vote for the proposition and used town finances to do it.

Several residents spoke against the proposal at previous town board meetings , letting officials know that they approved of O'Connor's work.

“If something’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Bob Sherman told the Ossining Town Board during a public hearing in August. “We are satisfied. When you talk about a business, it starts at the top. If the rank and file in the Highway Department is doing great, it’s because of the head, starting at (current Highway Superintendent Michael) O’Connor, is doing great.”

The board later voted 5-0 in favor of putting the proposition on the ballot .

“I found the comments to be very enlightening. However, it does not change my personal opinion as a member of this board that in fact this is a system that in many respects is broken,” said Councilman Eric Blaha in August. “I believe that the process that currently exists is not in the best interests of residents.”

O'Connor confirmed in November that he would continue his lawsuit .

“The only thing I can ever hope for in terms of money is to break even,” O'Connor said. “I’m not looking for the money. What I hope to get out of it is to make the courts aware of what [the Town Board has] done and that they violated the law and did something wrong.”

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