GOP Legislators Support Astorino Health Benefit Contribution Proposal

Call On Leadership Of Board Of Legislators To Review And Pass 15% Contribution For Health Benefits As Quickly As Possible

1/25/2010 9:34:20 AM

 

 

White Plains, NY – The Republican legislators on the Westchester County Board of Legislators announced their unanimous support today for County Executive Astorino’s plan to require non-union Westchester County employees to contribute 15% of their health care costs.

 

In a memo (see below) to the chairs of the committees that will be reviewing the proposed legislation, Minority Leader Jim Maisano (R, New Rochelle) voiced the support of the Republican Caucus for this fiscally responsible reform.  The legislation has the full support of Minority Whip Gordon A. Burrows (R, Yonkers), and legislators Bernice Spreckman (R, Yonkers) and John G. Testa (R, Peekskill).  Maisano stated in his memo, “It is the fiduciary duty of every legislator to promote fiscally responsible and cost-effective reforms to control governmental spending.  The County Executive’s proposal is a step in the right direction. In that spirit, we ask that your committees review this proposal at a meeting as soon as possible and that your committees move decisively to schedule a vote and pass this important legislation.”

 

The legislators emphasized that their support is not partisan. Burrows stressed, “We must support this common sense cost-saving proposal not as Republicans or Democrats, but as the elected stewards of the county’s fiscal resources. We must make sure this government becomes more fiscally responsible.”

 

“Simply put, these are the new economic facts of life for all of us,” said Testa. “Westchester should join those counties that do require a contribution to health care cost. The impact on county revenue and Westchester’s already sky-high taxes mean we must reduce the cost of government and provide relief to hard pressed taxpayers. Benefits starting with health care must be included, and that means a contributory plan.”

 

Maisano’s memo stresses, “It is imperative that every legislator recognize how this economic uncertainty has impacted the county’s revenue stream. 2010 will be very difficult for the county’s finances, and next year’s budget will be even more challenging, with a looming multi-million dollar deficit, and if we do not take all action to address these budgetary problems, their impact will be forced upon the taxpayers of Westchester County, something this caucus will not support.”

 

“In these trying economic times, any little bit I can do to help the taxpayers, I will willingly do,” added Spreckman

 

The Republican legislators noted this is a time for aggressive and thoughtful leadership.  While the proposed legislation does not include the Board of Legislators, the Republican legislators will also be looking to include the Board in future reforms and hope passage of the County Executive’s proposal will be the start of additional actions that will eventually mandate that all county employees will be contributing to their health benefits.

 

The overall goal of the Republican legislators is to be leaders in the effort to mandate more cost-effective government in Westchester and to ensure that the county government be more in tune with the economic realities of the times.  Burrows noted that health costs have doubled in the past decade to $149 Million annually and added, “I look forward to taking a lead on this issue and will work diligently to convince my colleagues to pass this legislation as soon as possible.

 


 

From:

 

 

Hon. James Maisano, Minority Leader and Republican Caucus

 

 

To:

 

 

Hon. Jose Alvarado-Chair- Budget and Appropriations Committee 
Hon. Michael Kaplowitz -Chair, Government Operations, Efficiency & Savings Committee 

 

 

Date: 

 

 

January 25, 2010

 

 

Re: 

 

 

Republican Caucus Support for County Executive’s Proposal that Non-Union County Employees Contribute 15% of Their Health Care Costs    

 

 

 

I write on behalf of the Republican Caucus to voice our support for County Executive Rob Astorino’s proposed common sense initiative calling for non-union Westchester County employees to contribute 15% of their health care costs.  We do so because it is the fiduciary duty of every legislator to promote fiscally responsible and cost-effective reforms to control governmental spending.  The County Executive’s proposal is a step in the right direction. In that spirit, we ask that your committees review this proposal at a meeting as soon as possible and that your committees then move decisively to schedule a vote and pass this important legislation.

 

These are distressing economic times unlike any in recent memory.  It is imperative that every legislator recognize how this economic uncertainty has impacted the county’s revenue stream.  2010 will be very difficult for the county’s finances, and next year’s budget will be even more challenging with a looming multi-million dollar deficit, and if we do not take all action possible to address these budgetary problems, their impact will be forced upon the taxpayers of Westchester County, something this caucus will not support.

 

It is simply an economic fact of life that the public and private sectors must change the way they operate and find new cost effective models to fit these times. The County Executive’s proposed legislation meets that standard.

 

This proposal has our support, and we look forward to working with all of our colleagues to continue efforts to reform our government and to find efficient and cost-effective measures to address Westchester County government’s financial challenges.

 

cc   Board of Legislators
       County Executive Astorino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislator Bill Ryan Takes Oath of Office at Post Road School

1/29/2010 12:47:00 PM

 

 

(White Plains, NY) -- On Wednesday, January 20, Legislator Bill Ryan, who represents White Plains and Scarsdale on the County Board of Legislators, took his oath of office at a special ceremony at the new Post Road School in White Plains.  The school’s fifth grade students assembled in the auditorium to observe the ceremony.  White Plains City Judge JoAnn Friia administered the oath of office, assisted by several students who held the Bible used in the ceremony.  This event coordinates with the fifth grade study of government. 

 

After explaining the significance of the oath and the duties of a Westchester County legislator, Legislator Ryan answered questions posed by the students.  “The kids were great,” he said.  “They had a high level of interest and their questions were very insightful.  Clearly they’re learning a lot in their study of government.”  Even the teachers participated, posing questions about a legislator’s day and some of the exciting events Mr. Ryan recalled from his tenure as Chairman of the Board of Legislators. 

 

Back in 2008, Legislator Ryan took his oath of office at Ridgeway School in a special ceremony for fifth graders.  Throughout the year, Legislator Ryan offers a student legislature program to fifth graders in his district.  The students visit the offices of the County Board of Legislators to learn about government and to actually take seats in the Board Chamber to debate and vote on legislative proposals.

The four students who assisted in the ceremony standing with Judge Friia, County Legislator Ryan and Mrs. Ryan following the oath of office ceremony.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Board of Legislators

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Westchester County Legislators Withhold Vote on Proposal Requiring Health Care Contributions for County Employees

2/1/2010 9:50:50 PM

 

 

(White Plains, NY) – Westchester County Board Chair Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) announced that the proposal requiring health insurance contributions for county’s employees under the County Executive’s jurisdiction, due for a vote at tonight’s Board of Legislators meeting has been recommitted to the Board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee for additional review by Majority Leader Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh).  “Board members are not prepared, at this time, to vote on this measure,” said Jenkins.  “More time, however, is needed by the Board to continue to review this all-important matter.”  

 

The proposed measure outlines that the total cost of a Health Maintenance Organization, which is required to be paid by employees who choose such heath insurance plans, all non-represented/managerial employees and retirees under the jurisdiction of the County Executive shall contribute fifteen per cent (15%) of the overall cost of the basic County health insurance plan. 

 

“I want to make sure that we can come up with legislation that truly encompasses all the viewpoints expressed by the Westchester legislators,” said Jenkins. “I’m confident that, through this process, we will produce an agreement that will provide maximum cost-savings to Westchester taxpayers. These items include offering pre-tax flexible spending accounts, incentives for employee opt-out and issuing an request for proposal (RFP) for different health plans.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Legislator Williams Honors Greenburgh Resident at Black History Month Heritage Celebration

2/3/2010 9:13:27 AM

 

 

(White Plains, NY) -- Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Westchester County Board Vice-Chairman Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon) and Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) were joined by their colleagues and local community stakeholders, clergy, business leaders and elected officials to celebrate their annual Black History & Heritage Month Celebration program last night during the business meeting.  In proclaiming February as Black History & Heritage Month in Westchester County, the County Board of Legislators celebrated the outstanding contributions of Black Americans.  The event highlighted our local ‘unsung heroes’ from across Westchester, who have done an exemplary job promoting the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora.  Greenburgh resident, Frank Williams, nominated to receive the honor by Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh), was joined by a select group of residents throughout the county who were recognized for their tireless efforts and contributions in their communities.

 

Williams, a fierce advocate for youth empowerment, is the executive director of the White Plains Youth Bureau, serving more than 2,000 young people each day and more than 6,500 kids each year. Williams developed programs such as the juvenile education program, the homeless education program, the Youth Council, the Youth Bureau’s Speaker Bureau and many other important programs.  Williams is on the board of directors of Good Counsel Academy, president of the White Plains Exchange Club, a member of the Black Scholars Committee, a member of the Beta Alpha Alpha chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc and an active Deacon at the Bethel Baptist Church in White Plains. “Keeping with our theme this year, ‘Living the Dream – Leaving a Legacy’, I’m honored to have shared this special event with a resident within my community who truly represents the best and brightest within the African-American community in Westchester.”

 

 
Westchester County Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) presenting this year’s annual Black History & Heritage Month’s “Unsung Heroes” award to Frank Williams of Greenburgh during a reception for the honorees
Photo Credit: County Board of Legislators staff
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

County Legislator Rogowsky Honors Port Chester Resident at Black History Month Heritage Celebration

2/3/2010 9:25:12 AM

 

 

(White Plains, NY) -- Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Westchester County Board Vice-Chairman Lyndon Williams (D-Mount Vernon), Legislator Martin Rogowsky (D-Harrison) and Legislator Alfreda Williams (D-Greenburgh) were joined by their colleagues and local community stakeholders, clergy, business leaders and elected officials to celebrate their annual Black History & Heritage Month Celebration program last night during the business meeting.  In proclaiming February as Black History & Heritage Month in Westchester County, the County Board of Legislators celebrated the outstanding contributions of Black Americans.  The event highlighted local ‘unsung heroes’ from across Westchester, who have done an exemplary job promoting the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora.  Port Chester resident, John William Reavis, nominated to receive the honor by Legislator Martin Rogowsky (D-Harrison), was joined by a select group of residents throughout the county who were recognized for their tireless efforts and contributions in their communities.

 

Reavis is the president of the Port Chester branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  He currently is a member of several organizations such as the Port Chester Recreation Commission, St Francis AME Zion Church and a board member of the Port Chester/Rye Town Council of Community Services.  “Keeping with our theme this year, ‘Living the Dream – Leaving a Legacy’, I’m honored to have shared this special event with John Reavis, who truly represents the best and brightest in the African-American community in Westchester,” commented Rogowsky.
 
Westchester County Legislator Martin Rogowsky (D-Harrison) presenting this year’s annual Black History & Heritage Month’s “Unsung Heroes” award to John William Reavis of Port Chester during a reception for the honorees
Photo Credit: County Board of Legislators staff