8/20/2009 2:59:45 PM



County Legislator George Oros joined Congressman John Hall, Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster and others in celebrating National Health Center Week at the Hudson River HealthCare facility in Peekskill. The health center has been located in Peekskill for 34 years and has expanded to 12 other sites and mobile services throughout nine counties, serving more than 42,000 at risk individuals.









Our State Constitution Should have a 25th Amendment, akin to that of the U.S. Constitution. -- Kaplowitz

8/21/2009 9:55:11 AM



(White Plains, NY) ~ It was about six weeks ago, during the now infamous New York State Senate stalemate, when Westchester County Legislator and Board Vice Chairman Michael B. Kaplowitz (D-I, Somers), first called for an amendment to the state constitution, in order to properly deal with a vacancy of the office of Lieutenant Governor and other statewide offices.


“In light of today’s ruling by the Court of Appeals, invalidating Gov. Paterson’s recent appointment of Mr. Ravitch as Lt. Governor, I think the time is appropriate for the State Legislature to begin the process of amending the constitution to include provisions for filling a vacancy in any of the three statewide offices; Lt. Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General,” said Kaplowitz.  “The amendment should be akin to the U.S. Constitution’s 25th Amendment which, in the case of Lt. Governor, would require the Governor to nominate someone who would assume the office of Lt. Governor if that person is confirmed by a majority vote of both the Assembly and the Senate.”


According to Kaplowitz, the replacement of Comptroller and Attorney General should be via a special election to be held within 90 days of the vacancy, in which time a temporary appointment may be made by a majority vote of the Legislature.


Kaplowitz noted that the reason for different processes is that the Lt. Governor is the only position out of the three statewide offices that is part of the Executive Branch.


“An amendment of the state constitution requires the vote of two consecutive legislatures.  Each legislature serves one two-year term.  Therefore, the time to begin this deliberation is now, so that a vote can be taken by the current legislature in 2010, and then the second vote by the next legislature in 2011,” stated Kaplowitz.  “This amendment would act as a type of insurance policy for the public in the sense that it would prevent any future instances of the extreme uncertainty, chaos and gridlock that took place in the Senate a couple of months ago.”









8/26/2009 9:53:54 AM



(White Plains, NY) ~ Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman William Ryan (D, WFP-White Plains) met this week with members of the Zeta Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., an organization with a long history of service to the African-American community, to discuss reducing incidents of domestic violence in the county.  Domestic violence affects all Americans, regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. However, this threat has disproportionately dire consequences for African-American women.  Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45. 


“Westchester county government has historically provided resources to enable victims of domestic violence to access support services such as counseling, advocacy, safety planning, court accompaniment,” said Ryan during this meeting.  Ryan met with Brenda Smith, Legislative Chair and former Superintendent of the Mt. Vernon Public Schools, Karen Williams, First Vice President of the local AKA chapter and Karen Cheeks-Lomax, Executive Director of My Sisters’ Place. The group explained the Sorority’s desire to empower young women to recognize and address violence. 


Alpha Kappa Alpha is reaching out nationally to educate and provide more support to young women.  Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is the oldest historically African-American sorority in the United States.  It continues to empower communities through exemplary service initiatives and progressive programs.  Inspired by service to the community and commitment to sisterhood, its members resolve to build on the legacy of their founders.











Westchester County Board of Legislators will help the United Way place volunteers who will deliver services to our residents

8/26/2009 11:10:51 AM



(White Plains, NY) ~ In this tough economy, with money tight and community-based organizations in need of volunteers, Westchester County Board of Legislators Chair William Ryan (D, WFP - White Plains) today announced that funding will be provided to the Volunteer Center of the United Way to help the Center place volunteers in a variety of programs and services benefiting county residents.  “The recession has placed considerable stress on the budgets of many organizations in the county,” stated Chairman Ryan.  “Volunteers on staff can help these organizations maintain programs and services used by thousands of people throughout Westchester.” 


The funding for the Volunteer Center addresses the need for community outreach to inform volunteers of work opportunities and for training organizations in effective ways to engage their volunteers.  Learning how to find and make creative use of the skills of volunteers enhances the experience for all parties.  “The return on this investment is immense,” said Chairman Ryan, “in terms of opening doors for people who want to help others and in helping the underemployed find a job.” 


The volunteers are out there in large numbers.  The Westchester Serves Expo, held recently at the County Center, attracted an overflow crowd of hundreds looking for opportunities to volunteer in such areas as health, emergency services, the arts, social services, and the environment. 


The Volunteer Center of the United Way matches the interest and availability of hundreds of volunteer workers with the needs of not-for-profit organizations and it works to improve the quality of the volunteer experience through training.  Over the last several months, visits to the Volunteer Center website have increased dramatically and volunteer referrals to organizations have more than doubled.








County Board’s review of the proposed agreement to continue with legislators the Administration, agency representatives and attorneys

8/27/2009 4:32:30 PM


Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman William Ryan (D, WFP-White Plains) has officially called a series of committee meetings to provide all legislators the opportunity to obtain additional information, in relation to the proposed affordable housing settlement agreement and the Bond Act to fund costs related to the settlement.  Chairman Ryan and the members of the Legislature will be gathering more details on the settlement from various agency and Administration representatives and attorneys.


Westchester County Board of Legislators Committee Room
800 Michaelian Office Building
148 Martine Avenue, 8th Floor (corner of Court Street)
White Plains, NY


FIRST MEETING -- Tuesday, September 1, at 10:00 a.m. 


o       financing the requirements of the proposed settlement

o       our submissions to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development

o       HUD policies, rules and regulations, and expectations

o       other relevant topics of inquiry



o       Todd Miles, Esq. of Hawkins, Delafield and Wood (the County’s bond counsel)

o       Westchester County Finance Commissioner Kathy Thorsberg

o       Westchester County Planning Commissioner Gerard Mulligan and Planning Department staff; representatives of the Administration

o       Westchester County Attorney Charlene Indelicato


SECOND MEETING -- Wednesday, September 2, at 2:30 p.m. 


o       any outstanding legal matters

o       housing development programs including State and federal grants and loans

o       the availability of funds that could be applied for by housing developers for the construction of affordable AFFH units



o       Michael Kalish of Epstein Becker and Green, P.C. (our counsel in this matter),

o       Westchester County Attorney Charlene Indelicato

o       Commissioner Deborah VanAmerongen -- NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal


THIRD MEETING -- Tuesday, September 8, at 10:00 a.m. 

o       This meeting is to allow time for any further discussion


In response to the landmark settlement between the federal government and Westchester County, the county’s Board of Legislators has officially received the final version of the proposed negotiated settlement agreement and Bond act.  The settlement agreement is subject to and conditional upon approval of the county’s Board of Legislators.  The Board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee took the first step toward ratification of this settlement and bond act by approving these measures.  The settlement Act and Bond Act will be on the regular calendar for our Board meeting scheduled for Monday evening, September 8.  Should the Board fail to provide approval, the agreement shall be null and void, and all parties would proceed to trial.  The Board of Legislators is conducting its process of thoroughly reviewing the agreement.