12/2/2009 10:48:45 AM



E-newsletter sent by the Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.


On Thursday October 22 the Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. held their 2009 Legislative Advocacy Breakfast. Held in conjunction with the national Lights on Afterschool celebration, the event reinforced the importance of after school programs to children’s success and safety.  Legislator Judy Myers was honored as a Friend of After School in Westchester County for her support of school age programs and all early care and education programs.


The Advocacy Breakfast featured a ‘Town Hall’ meeting at which six children from the Harrison Children’s Center, Harrison Avenue After School Program and Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School After Care School Program asked our elected officials about their after school experiences.  Legislator Ken Jenkins, Senator Suzi Oppenheimer, Assemblyman Adam Bradley, Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Legislator Judy Myers participated in the Town Hall meeting. 


The hours after school, between 3 and 6 pm, are prime time for juvenile crime.  Today, about one third of all school-age children, an estimated five million between ages five and 13, are so-called latchkey children - kids who care for themselves while parents are at work. One third of all complaints to child welfare agencies involve latchkey children.  Studies have found that latch-key kids are more likely to use alcohol, cigarettes, and illegal drugs than children who are supervised after school.


After school programs provide, among other things, socialization, positive role models, learning and enrichment, and contribute to healthy lifestyle options for children.  They improve school attendance and engagement in learning, as well as test scores and grades.  Those children who participate more frequently and for longer periods of time are most likely to benefit from out of school time activities.  In addition, children who participate in after school programs show significant improvement in three major areas:  feelings and attitudes, increased indicators of behavior adjustment which includes positive social behaviors and reduction in aggression, conduct problems and drug use, and increased school and achievement test scores. 


Often times after school programs provide children with opportunities to meet needs that schools can’t:  personal attention from adults, positive peer groups and activities that hold their interest and build self esteem.


A recent survey by the Afterschool Alliance found that in 2005/2006, 86% of providers surveyed said that children in their communities who need after school programs do not have access to them. 


Finding and sustaining funding to support out of school time programs is critical to developing and continuing promising after school efforts over the long term.  This includes making better use of existing funds, maximizing available federal dollars creating more flexibility in funding streams, the development of new dedicated revenue sources for after school programs and creating partnerships between public and private sector organizations and funding sources. 


Thank you for your continued support of after school programs in Westchester County.













RE: County Executive-Elect Astorinos naming of Kevin Plunkett as Deputy County Executive and Robert Meehan as County Attorney

12/3/2009 12:57:22 PM



During this time of tough fiscal challenges for our county, it’s important that we use this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to solve the problems that confront the people of Westchester.  That is why I am encouraged by County Executive-Elect Astorino’s choices for Deputy County Executive and County Attorney.
I have worked with Robert Meehan in his capacity of Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor during my tenure as Board Chairman.  We have always had a positive working experience.  Because the County Attorney works for the Legislature and the County Executive, it is important that there be a strong cooperative relationship between the Board and the County Attorney.
I’ve known Kevin Plunkett for a number of years.  Kevin was an excellent choice to head the transition team and now for Deputy County Executive.  We look forward to working with him to benefit and protect the taxpayers of Westchester.
The County has some major challenges to confront in the future, especially as we work to reduce the tax burden on Westchester families.  I am confident that County Executive Elect Astorino has selected two individuals that will make important contributions and commend him on these first two choices to join him in his administration and welcome them to the team of professionals needed to get our critical work done.





12/8/2009 8:35:29 AM


Westchester County Board Vice-Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers), the Board’s Committee on Government Operations Chairman Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Democratic Majority Whip Judith Myers (D-Larchmont), the Board’s Committee on Legislation Chairman Legislator Bill Burton (D-Ossining), the Board’s Committee on Public Safety and Security Chairman Legislator Vito Pinto (D-Tuckahoe), Legislators Peter Harckham (D-Katonah) and John Nonna (D-Mount Pleasant) will release a preliminary outline calling for consolidation and streamlining of Westchester County government. 


Speakers to attend are (still in formation):

  • Board Vice-Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers)
  • Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Chair – Board’s Committee on Government Operations
  • Democratic Majority Whip Judith Myers (D-Larchmont)
  • Legislator Bill Burton (D-Ossining), Chair – Board’s Committee on Legislation
  • Legislator Vito Pinto (D-Tuckahoe), Chair – Board’s Committee on Public Safety and Security
  • Legislator Peter Harckham (D-Katonah), Chair – Board Subcommittee on Septic Issues
  • Legislator John Nonna (D-Mount Pleasant), Chair – Board’s Subcommittee on Litigation
  • Additional County Legislators


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


Tuesday, December 8th, 2009 at 12pm noon SHARP!


The overall goals of the proposed consolidation plan are to significantly save taxpayer dollars, streamline service delivery and eliminate duplicative administrative personnel and services. The Legislators will present an initial outline for county government consolidation during the press conference.

Lawmakers to Taxpayers: "We get it!"

12/8/2009 2:16:22 PM

 Westchester County Board Vice-Chairman Michael Kaplowitz (D,I -Somers), the Board’s Committee on Government Operations Chairman Legislator Ken Jenkins (D-Yonkers), Democratic Majority Whip Judith Myers (D-Larchmont), the Board’s Committee on Legislation Chairman Legislator Bill Burton (D-Ossining), Legislators Peter Harckham (D-Katonah) and John Nonna (D-Mount Pleasant) released a preliminary outline calling for the consolidation of agencies and the streamlining of Westchester County government during a press conference today. “All across America, businesses are downsizing their operations and eliminating duplicate services in order to better control costs in these financially difficult times,” remarked Kaplowitz, a certified financial planner and immediate past chairman of the Legislature’s Budget & Appropriations Committee.  “We’ve heard the growing frustration of residents in our county, which culminated on Election Day, and we get it.  This is a strong first step towards right-sizing county government.”  Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the release of the outgoing County Executive’s fiscal year (FY) 2010 proposed budget, which calls for a 4.88% property tax increase, which Kaplowitz and others say, “is simply not acceptable.”

You can watch the press conference by clicking here (select the "Dec 08  Proposed County Government Consolidation Plan" video)

Details of the proposed outline include:

  •  The consolidation of county departments and offices from 36 to 19 departments
  • The reduction of 51 non-represented staff positions, for a total savings of $7.5 million

Increasingly, communities are looking to the consolidation mechanism as a way of achieving efficiencies in response to citizen demands for services and cost-savings.  These reductions, which recognize the severity of the current fiscal crisis, reflect common sense solutions designed to allow agencies to do more with less.

Other cuts will be targeted to eliminate redundancies and maximize efficiencies.  “Westchester’s residents are clearly suffering due to the downturn in our economy.  They have lost jobs, their family savings and retirement funds are being depleted, yet they are expected to continue paying for duplication in government,” remarked Majority Whip Myers.  “It is our fundamental responsibility as legislators to make government work efficiently on behalf of its residents, and at its current structure and size, it simply isn’t providing the financial relief to our taxpayers.”  This outline limits the scope of operations for the county to those services that are mandatory and can effectively and efficiently be conducted.  “This is a great framework and an appropriate first step.  I look forward to discussing with my colleagues the actual implementation steps to reorganize and achieve savings," said Legislator Jenkins.

“Today’s worsening financial situation means that it’s time take necessary, albeit, painful steps to cut our county budget,” said Legislator Burton.

“My constituents have no opposition to funding the social safety net that is so critical during these unprecedented economic times. What they have said to me is that we need to cut the cost of government itself, not programs,” said Legislator Harckham. “This plan makes government more efficient, cost effective and still able to deliver critical services.”

“The public has spoken with a loud voice that it wants significant steps to be taken to reduce the cost of county government,” said Legislator Nonna.  “The Board must be a leader in finding innovative and significant ways to reduce the cost of county government. We must take steps to consolidate county government departments in a responsible way.  We must find savings in budget lines.  We can no longer make excuses or point the finger toward Albany or anyone else.”

“The overall goals of the proposed consolidation plan are to significantly save taxpayer dollars, streamline service delivery and eliminate duplicative administrative personnel and services,” remarked Legislator Pinto.

12/14/2009 1:38:19 PM



Legislator George Oros, flanked by Board of Legislators Chairman William Ryan and Minority Whip Jim Maisano, received the Board of Legislators Award for Distinguished Service at the December 14 meeting. Oros, the Minority Leader who was first elected to the board in 1995, was praised by Maisano as “an incredibly principled guy” and “a gentleman.” “George, you are all about the good things about politics,” Maisano said. “He worked 24 hours a day for his district. He gave everything he had.” Oros said it had been a blesing to serve as a legislator for 15 years.