The 200-year existence
of the Board of Supervisors produced many and varied records related
to the work of the premier legislative body for Westchester County.
During this period, the county was run by supervisors who were chosen
to represent its cities and towns and who placed heavy emphasis
on home rule. One of the most intriguing struggles, the final one
in fact, was how these supervisors would develop a workable reapportionment
plan, pursuant to the 1965 landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision
known as the “one man, one vote” ruling.
Various documents indicate the fierceness of
the Board’s resistance to change. Perhaps none illustrates
this better than the December
1966 Statement by the Chairman and the Majority Leader of the
Board, which called for passage of a local law over the veto of
the County Executive. Weighted voting
charts and census counts were
developed as the debate intensified. A stack
of voters’ petitions led to the subsequent lawsuit brought by the Town of Greenburgh
and the League of Women Voters. Ultimately, a NYS Supreme Court
judge imposed a plan on the reluctant supervisors, one that closely
paralled a proposal from then County Executive Edwin Michaelian.
This settled an important civil rights issue for Westchester. In
1970 – five years after the Supreme Court’s decision
– the new Westchester County Board of Legislators took their
seats, giving minority groups in large population centers an opportunity
for representation that had been denied them in the past.
the Public: The History of Westchester County Government