What’s in a Name? By the Letter of the Law, A Lot

BY DYLAN SKRILOFF

In everyday life a simple word usually does not cause a commotion, but in the world of the law, a slight variation in a phrase or name can cause a controversy if it’s used improperly. For two examples, read on.

Dennis Lynch Says Stony Point Can’t Use the Word “Commission”

One such example of a word causing a problem happened in Stony Point recently. In what would look to outside observers like an absurd situation, but which may have made perfect sense to lawyers in the audience, earlier this month town special counsel Dennis Lynch explained rather curtly to a proposed “Stony Point Film Commission” that they did not have a legal right to exist as a “commission.”

Instead Stony Point must form a “Stony Point Film Advisory Committee,” because according to Lynch state law only provides authority for a town to create committees. In fact the state had long ago abolished the authority for towns to create most types of commissions. The fact that a committee or commission would serve exactly the same role and have exactly the same purpose, did not matter to the law, Lynch claimed.

The problem with this to members of the proposed committee/commission is that in the film industry the desired term is “commission.” It is more attractive to potential filmmakers.

Some disagreed with Lynch’s interpretation of the law, but the matter seemed to be resolved on May 22 when counsel Brian Nugent agreed that naming an official committee the “Stony Point Film Commission,” but noting on paperhead and in legal documents that it was a committee, probably would not cause any problems. In effect, the entity would legally be the Stony Point Film Commission Committee.

Some in the audience May 22 were not too thrilled with Lynch’s original take on the matter. One person in the board meeting audience screamed “Dennis Lynch” when it was asked aloud what was holding up the process of the creating the commission.

Notably, the film initiative is being spearheaded by Councilwoman Luanne Konopko, who, as reported in the Rockland County Times many times during Supervisor William Sherwood’s tenure, does not get along with Mr. Lynch.

Some Stony Pointers wondered aloud if Lynch, a servant of the town board, would give an elected councilwoman a hard time about something as simple as forming a group aimed at attracting the film industry to the town, simply because he doesn’t like her? Only Mr. Lynch knows the answer to that.

Supervisor Geoff Finn denies Lynch is purposely obstructing progress for Konopko’s projects. When the audience member screamed Lynch’s name, Finn immediately reacted by affirming the mission of the town special counsel. “We have very hard working attorneys” doing all they can for the town, Finn reassured the restless film advocates.

So, what’s in a name? Sometimes a lot. Read on!


Reda Says “Republican Academy” Group Can’t Use the Word “Republican”

Rockland County GOP Chairman Vincent Reda told the Rockland County Times this week that he takes umbrage with the use of the word “Republican” by the self-titled “Rockland Republican Academy,” a dissident group of about 100 local Republican Party members who have organized to challenge his leadership.

Reda said the term Republican is a trademark of the party and that groups not sanctioned by the official party cannot use it to represent themselves. The longtime GOP chair said the “Republican Academy” members should be expecting to receive a letter to that effect in the near future.