1/8/2010 1:58:43 PM

 

 

(White Plains, NY) ~ Westchester County Board Chairman Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers) today announced that he has made his recommendations Standing Committees and his selections for Committee Chairs for the 2010-2011 legislative term.  Committee membership will be announced next week.
“I am pleased to recommend these capable men and women to chair the Board’s Committees during this legislative term. We have much work to do and many challenges facing our county. I know that these Legislators will be able to deliver the responsible and accessible government that the residents of Westchester have called for to help move our county in the right direction.”

The following are the list of Standing Committees and Chairs for the 2010-2011 legislative term:

Budget & Appropriations: Jose Alvarado, Chair (Yonkers)
The Budget and Appropriations Committee is charged with maintaining the fiscal integrity of the County and with ensuring that Westchester’s taxpayers receive the most efficient and effective government at the least cost.  The Committee reviews and modifies the county budget, monitors all county operational and capital expenditures, analyzes and reviews all fiscally related matters and makes recommendations on those matters to the full Board for consideration and  seeks opportunities for operational reform that will lead to better and less costly county government. The Committee seeks regular input on fiscal matters from the public through public hearings and through monthly meetings of the Citizen’s Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC). Alvarado, who chaired this committee during the 2008-2009 legislative session, has a background in Accounting and has earned a master’s degree in Public Administration/Health Care. He is currently employed as the Special Advisor to the President of White Plains Hospital Center for Outreach to the Hispanic Community.

 

Legislation: John Nonna, Chair (Greenburgh, Harrison, Mount Pleasant, North Castle, Briarcliff Manor, Pleasantville)
The Committee on Legislation is the clearinghouse for either new county laws or proposed amendments to existing laws.  The Committee will determine if proposed legislation is in keeping with the Westchester County Charter. In addition to reviewing legislation sent to it, the Committee will also write and develop legislation to address emerging and critical issues that impact the quality of life, health, safety and welfare of Westchester residents.  Nonna, the former Mayor of Pleasantville, has served the Board as Chair of the Subcommittee on Litigation. John has practiced law for over 30 years in the area of dispute resolution. He has represented Fortune 500 companies in major litigation and arbitration and is a fellow of the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers.

Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings: Michael Kaplowitz (New Castle, Somers and Yorktown)
The Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings (GO) provides oversight on a number of County projects, issues and initiatives. The Committee initiates and explores topics of public interest and advises the County Board of further action required. Kaplowitz, an attorney, certified financial planner and immediate past Board vice-chairman, has been an aggressive supporter of tax fairness and government consolidation.  He has led the legislative effort to keep the sewage diversion/upgrade issue on the front burner and has been an effective leader in the fight to convert Indian Point to a non-nuclear facility.

 

Community Services: Alfreda Williams (Greenburgh)
The Community Services Committee ensures that the County provides policies and programs that improve the health, safety, and quality of life for the families and children of Westchester. The Committee conducts oversight of the Departments of Social Services, Health, Community Mental Health, the Office for Women, and any office that provides services to families, including contract agencies.  Williams was the first African-American to be elected Greenburgh Town Clerk and she held that post until 2007.  She has an extensive background in the health care stemming with major health care institutions, including Mount Sinai Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center where she specialized in human resource administration, management training and development and risk management.

 

Public Safety & Security: Vito Pinto (Tuckahoe, Eastchester, New Rochelle)
The Committee on Public Safety and Security is to ensure that Westchester residents enjoy the highest level of protection and security possible.  The Committee reviews, evaluates and makes recommendations regarding a wide and varied range of services and departments that plan, coordinate and manage any activity that impacts the safety and well-being of citizens including fire and emergency services, police and law enforcement agencies, correctional and criminal justice services, along with disaster preparedness management. Pinto, the former chair of this committee during the 2008-2009 legislative session, served on the Tuckahoe Village Board and the Eastchester Town Council prior to his election to the County Board.  During his tenure on the Board, Pinto has chaired the Committee on County Officers and Departments, Public Works Committee, Parks Committee and Legislation Committee.

 

Energy: Martin Rogowsky (Harrison, Port Chester)
This new committee (formerly included in the Environment Committee) was created by Chairman Jenkins to review all public policies that affect Westchester County’s energy needs, rate of consumption and cost to taxpayers, and seeking ways to improve how we go about reducing Westchester’s energy needs through public education, proposing legislation or working with the County administration on energy initiatives. The Committee will work with the State on legislation pertaining to the supply of electricity and natural gas, establishment of electric rates, state-wide energy policy, energy conservation, nuclear power (such as issues related to the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants), and energy tax credits.  Rogowsky, the immediate past Majority Leader of the Board, started his career in public service in the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs. Later in his career, Rogowsky headed to Washington, DC to serve in the US Department of Energy where he held several jobs including Deputy Assistant General Counsel for the Environment and Acting Director of the Environment, Health and Safety in the Office of Fossil Energy. Rogowsky also spent three months on temporary assignment to the White House Domestic Policy Staff.  In 1998, County Executive Andy Spano appointed Legislator Rogowsky Chairman of the Westchester County Public Utility Service Agency where he served until his election the County Legislature.

 

Environment: Peter Harckham (Pound Ridge, Katonah, Bedford, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Lewisboro) 
The Committee on the Environment will review all public policies that affect the natural environment of Westchester County including air, water and land-based sites; and, to take steps to improve environmental conditions by means of legislation. The Committee will also oversee all actions -- both governmental and non-governmental -- that affect the collection, transportation and/or disposal of solid waste and recyclables in Westchester County.  Harckham, an affordable housing advocate, has focused extensive energy into protecting the fragile drinking water supplies that serve both the people of northern Westchester and the New York City watershed. He is the founding Chair of the Board’s Septic Sub Committee of the Committee on Environment and Energy, which is comprised of stakeholders in the formulation of septic policy. He led critical negotiations between the County, municipalities, NY State and NY City regarding formulation and implementation of new MS4 Septic requirements. He also successfully led the effort to release $10M of NYC DEP funds to the Town of North Salem for badly needed sewers for Peach Lake to replace failing septic systems that were threatening the NYC drinking supply.

 

Generational, Cultural & Ethnic Diversity: Bernice Spreckman (Yonkers)
The Committee on Generational, Cultural and Ethnic Diversity cultivates the worth of every individual within the county, develop mechanisms to combat all forms of discrimination and promote mutual understanding and harmony among the county’s myriad racial, ethnic and religious groups. Through its outreach and collaboration efforts, the Committee works closely with advocates and stakeholders within the County to ensure equal access to county services for communities of color, youth, women, seniors, the disabled and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) communities. The Committee exercises significant oversight responsibility in the implementation of the Human Rights Commission. Spreckman, the former Chair of this committee and the previous Seniors Committee, has served in several posts in Yonkers city government, including three terms as 2nd Ward Councilmember, Councilmember-at-Large, Vice Mayor and Chair of the City Council’s Committees on Rules and Real Estate. Bernice was also elected the first female president of the New York State Councilman’s Association. Spreckman has initiated several successful and innovative programs, including the Shopper’s Shuttle and the Adopt-a-Senior Citizen Center Program, HMO reform, expanding the EPIC program to the disabled and lowering prescription drug prices.

 

Public Works, Parks, Labor & Transportation: William Ryan (White Plains, Scarsdale)
This new committee (formerly included in the Government Operations Committee) was created by Chairman Jenkins to monitor construction and maintenance projects that relate to county-owned and operated infrastructure, including bridges and county-owned roadways, Westchester County Airport, the Norwood Jackson Correctional Facility and the county’s office buildings, parking structures and county courthouse. The Committee also oversees the Parks Department’s management of Rye Playland, Westchester County Center and the county’s more than 17,000 acres, 50 recreational facilities and 6 public golf courses. The Committee also will evaluate and analyze proposed labor legislation to determine if the legislation is fair to workers and will review and evaluate labor policies.  Ryan, immediate past Chairman of the Board, former Chair of the Public Safety Committee and the current President of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), has worked as a bank officer, Chair of the Peekskill Housing Authority and Chair of the Peekskill Board of Assessment Review. Prior to his election to the Board, Ryan served as a member of State Assembly with an expertise in the area of state aid to education and he delivered record amounts of aid to school districts in Westchester County, in particular, small city school districts.  From 1985 to 2003, Ryan served the Assembly Speaker, assigned to the Legislative Commission on State-Local Relations, where he handled policy matters involving intergovernmental relations, education finance and aid to localities.

 

Housing & Planning: William Burton (Ossining, Croton-on-Hudson, Briarcliff Manor)
This new committee (formerly included in the Government Operations Committee) was created by Chairman Jenkins to oversee affordable housing programs, projects and issues, planning topics. For housing and planning issues, the committee includes non-legislator advisory members who are leaders in the business and housing communities.  Burton, the former Chair of the Board’s Committee on Legislation and former Town Supervisor of Ossining, has been a tireless advocate for affordable housing, lowering taxes and making sure that the County infrastructure and the “safety net” are maintained.  As supervisor, Burton led to the purchase of Cedar Lane Park, the first acquisition of recreational land by the town in nearly 20 years. His ideas on how to resolve septic problems along the town’s North State Road commercial corridor spurred economic development. In his six years as Supervisor, Town taxes were reduced 5 times.  Burton joined Westchester County’s Taxi and Limousine Commission as an assistant to the Chair, where he helped develop the rules and regulations for the industry-requested regulatory body and went on to serve as the Commission’s first violations prosecutor.

 

Rules: Thomas Abinanti (Greenburgh)
The Rules Committee will have oversight of Board structure and organization and appointments. Abinanti, the Democratic Majority Leader, brings to the Board extensive experience in the legislative process and the enforcement of local laws, as well as a deep concern for the quality of life in our community.  Previously, Abinanti served two terms as a Greenburgh Town Councilman. He was legislative counsel to a member of Congress and staff counsel to the New York State Assembly Speaker. He served as a prosecuting attorney for the Villages of Ardsley and Dobbs Ferry. He represented the Greenburgh Housing Authority and served as pro bono attorney for the Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RE: Acceptance of the Chairmanship of the Boards Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings

1/8/2010 2:16:25 PM

 

 

“I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity as the new Chair of the Board’s Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings.

 

My colleagues and I have heard the growing frustration of residents in our county in making government leaner, more efficient and cost-effective.

 

I look forward to working with my colleagues over this term to identify ways to right-size our county government.” 

 

BACKGROUND:
The Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings (GO) provides oversight on a number of County projects, issues and initiatives.  This committee will head the Board’s efforts on these fronts:

 

  • Tax fairness
  • County government efficiencies
  • Shared Services
  • Consolidation
  • Mandate relief

This role will handle County government restructured, Business Advisory Council, Collaborative Assessment, Charter modifications and will coordinate the efforts with the County Association, Business Council and the Municipal Officials Association.  This role will involve having public hearings throughout the County, working with our State officials, legislators and lobbyists.  Kaplowitz, an attorney, certified financial planner and immediate past Board vice-chairman, has been an aggressive supporter of tax fairness and government consolidation. Kaplowitz authored county government consolidation plan, which would investigate streamlining mechanisms as a way of achieving efficiencies in response to citizen demands for services and cost-savings. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/8/2010 4:02:26 PM

What

The Pleasantville Village Board of Trustees will be meeting in public work session with state and county lawmakers, along with representatives of the NYS Public Service Commission to discuss the scope and impact of Con Edison’s tree cutting and removal in connection with transmission and distribution maintenance program
 

Who:

Speakers to attend (still in formation):

  • Westchester County Legislator John Nonna
  • State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
  • Members of the Pleasantville Village Board
  • Representatives from the NYS Public Service Commission

Where:   

Pleasantville Village Hall 
80 Wheeler Avenue (corner of Bedford Road)
Pleasantville
 

When:

Saturday, January 9, 2010 at 12:30pm SHARP!

Committee Meeting Preview: Items for Discussion

1/8/2010 5:30:12 PM

 

 

Please note: Latest committee meeting agendas (including “TBA” agendas) posted at www.westchesterlegislators.com/calendar

 

Monday, January 11, 2010

 

3:00 PM

 

Legislation—Hon. John Nonna, Chair; Contact: Melanie Montalto (995-8620)

 

  • Organizational meeting
    • Legislative priorities for 2010-2011 session
    • Setting of quorums for call to order and Committee action  

 

 

4:00 PM

 

Environment—Hon. Peter Harckham, Chair; Contact: Christopher Crane (995-2104)

 

Joint with

 

Energy—Hon. Martin Rogowsky, Chair; Contact: Christopher Crane (995-2104) 

 

  • Organizational meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1/11/2010 5:01:48 PM

“I am honored to be asked to chair the Legislation Committee of the Board of Legislators. In the coming year, I would like to undertake a comprehensive review of the Westchester County Code to determine the following:

 

  • Are there County laws which are not serving their intended purpose? Are there laws we have enacted in the past which have not worked to address the problem or issue they were designed to solve.
  • Related to Item number 1, are there County laws that are not being enforced effectively. If so, we must consider why they are not being enforced, and, if they are not being enforced why do they remain on the books.
  • Are there County laws which have been pre-empted by state or federal law? If so, these laws should be repealed so they do not remain on the books.
  • Certain County laws require that reports be provided on a periodic basis? Have the required reports been provided?

This will be a ground up process that will take some time.  I am pleased that Betsy DeSoye Esq. who has been a member of the Board’s staff will be serving as counsel to the Committee. She will work on this project. We hope to recruit a number of interns from Pace Law School to assist and she will oversee the work of those interns. We also will seek the assistance and guidance of the County Attorney’s office in going forward with this project.  We will also be considering what improvements and reforms can be made in the operation and efficiency of county government through the legislative process.

In this regard, we will be working with the Committee on Government Operations, Efficiency and Savings  to examine provisions in the County Charter  regarding the formation and organization of county departments.  I look forward to the contributions of each member of the committee. We will consider legislative proposals from every legislator. In considering proposed legislation, I will urge that we focus on whether the proposed legislation is a proper subject for Westchester County to address and whether the legislation can be effectively enforced in a cost effective manner. A cost/benefit analysis must be conducted with respect to any proposed legislation to ascertain the fiscal impact of the legislation versus its potential benefits. We should also recognize that as a county government, we cannot solve all problems. Some problems can be more effectively addressed at the state, federal  and on local municipal levels.

We will initially focus on a number of items that were held over from the last session. These include item pricing, source of income, regulation of fire suppression device installers and inspectors to name a few.

We are also required by the affordable housing settlement to amend the ‘right of first refusal’ law entailing that the county first offer real property  that it seeks to sell to a municipality before it sells the real property  to a third party. The settlement agreement requires that the County amend this law to make an exception for property to be sold for affordable housing.”

 

BACKGROUND:

The Committee on Legislation is the clearinghouse for either new county laws or proposed amendments to existing laws.  The Committee will determine if proposed legislation is in keeping with the Westchester County Charter. In addition to reviewing legislation sent to it, the Committee will also write and develop legislation to address emerging and critical issues that impact the quality of life, health, safety and welfare of Westchester residents.

Nonna, the former Mayor of Pleasantville, has served the Board as Chair of the Subcommittee on Litigation. John has practiced law for over 30 years in the area of dispute resolution. He has represented Fortune 500 companies in major litigation and arbitration and is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.