The attorney for the Amalgamated Transit Union Friday called for Chautauqua County Executive Andrew Goodell to apologize to State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Gerace for comments made over a legal battle between the union and the county.
Gerace is considering a stay of a County Legislature resolution that would suspend fixed route county buses in Jamestown, effective Aug. 1, while the two sides seek to settle their dispute.
ATU Attorney Charles DeAngelo blasted Goodell for saying the judge was trying to "act as a super legislature or super county executive."
"The courts must maintain their independent ability to review the actions of the legislative and executive branches of government," DeAngelo said. "The county executive's statements are blatantly inappropriate and insulting.
"The judge is not trying to act as a 'super county executive or super legislature.' He is doing his job as a judge," DeAngelo added.
Goodell said his comments were not meant to be a personal attack on Gerace, but he does believe the court is undermining the Legislature.
"Regardless of who the judge is, the court must respect the decisions made by the County Legislature and by the executive branch, as long as those decisions were made in a legal and proper manner," he said.
"No one involved in this lawsuit is questioning, at any level, the validity of the resolution that was adopted by the County Legislature and signed by me as county executive," Goodell added.
After hearing an hour's worth of arguments Thursday, and receiving additional case law to review, Gerace reserved decision until Monday on both the bus suspension issue and on whether the union and the county should take their argument to a U.S. Labor Department dispute resolution process.
The county moved to have the suit dismissed, but the judge refused to grant that request.