* Hold the line on taxes –
Rob Astorino’s last budget will be taking affect my first year in office. In my first budget, which will be voted on in December 2018, we will ensure that we look to consolidate services, utilize aid from Albany, eliminate waste by terminating pay-to-play contracts, and find creative solutions to best spend your hard earned tax payer money.
* A full State Comptroller’s audit of our finances ASAP –
Rob Astorino has ruined our county’s financial solvency. His budget gimmicks, one shot deals and pay-to-play contracts have led to Westchester being named one of New York’s most fiscally stressed counties. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has the authority and expertise to provide our county an honest assessment and future guidance that will bring Westchester back from the brink of receivership.
* Development of an environmental plan to reduce the county’s carbon footprint over 4 years –
Our environment is one of the most important things to those of us who live in Westchester. As part of protecting our existing air and water resources, we need to develop a plan that makes Westchester County government part of the solution. We need to improve our entire fleet of vehicles, reduce our energy consumption, and look at every opportunity to utilize our space for developing renewable energy resources. This all must be part of a 4 year plan for Westchester moving forward. Smart energy use is smart use of taxpayer dollars.
* Executive order / law to eliminate the likeness and names of elected officials from public parks and buildings –
There is no good reason for elected officials to have their likenesses splashed all over county buildings and property – only bad reasons. The most common reason is one that really should not be legal; using government resources to promote your visibility and re-election chances. There are so many important messages that we could share that will benefit the people of Westchester. We need to use all our resources to help the people of Westchester, not someone’s re-election goals.
* Executive order / law to prohibit certain exhibitions from the County Center including gun shows –
I join with the people of Westchester and the Board of Legislators in rejecting gun shows on county property. I do not believe that promoting weapons on government property is appropriate. While I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I do not believe that there is any proper role for government in promoting guns and gun paraphernalia. Additionally, the Westchester Gun Show has brought with it horrendous problems, including the availability of Confederate and Nazi memorabilia. The events that occur in our county government spaces must be reflective of the people and values of our county.
* Task force to review implementation of Raise the Age –
The new “Raise the Age” law will allow for many criminal charges against young people – those ages 16 and 17 – to be removed from the criminal justice system and dealt with in the juvenile justice system. Incarceration of 16- and 17-year-olds falls disproportionately on youth of color. Black and Hispanic youth make up 33 percent of 16- and 17-year-old youth statewide, but 72 percent of all arrests. Additionally the vast majority of teen crime is non-violent. While a great step for our state, it will bring with it a need for reshaping of our juvenile systems from prosecution, to probation to treatment and services.
* TV coverage of Board of Acquisition and Contract meetings and County Planning Board meetings –
These two largely unknown entities hold substantial influence. The Westchester Board of Acquisition and Contracts is responsible for approving numerous contracts involving county paid goods and services. Tens of millions of Westchester government contracts are awarded through the Board of Acquisitions and Contracts annually. The County Planning Board is charged with balancing development with protecting the beauty and character of Westchester. Because of the great impact they have in Westchester, it is imperative that the public have full access to their proceedings.
* Reenergize the Human Rights Commission with new committed personnel –
I am proud of my role in the creation of Westchester’s Human Rights Commission, and disappointed in what it has become today. The Human Rights Commission must be a vibrant, active force in our community. With a new wave of intolerance sweeping our nation and our county, it is imperative that our Human Rights Commission be fully operational and prepared to protect the rights of people in our community.
* Establish a close working relationship with State Legislators and the Executive Branch ASAP –
As a state legislator who has served in both houses, and have had a working relationship with Governor Cuomo for many years, I am singularly qualified to expand Westchester’s relationships and impact in Albany. My background and experience in local government prior to my service in the state legislature will allow me to better serve all of our communities throughout Westchester in both the state budget and state policy.
* Meet with the Westchester Women’s Agenda to review 2018 priorities –
Immediately after the election, I will meet with the Westchester Women’s Agenda to review their priorities and begin to redress the neglect of the women’s issues and women’s rights in Westchester County.
* Identify grant resources to add individuals to the County Police Force –
I believe that county government should be a partner with all local governments throughout Westchester. In addition to increased cooperation, I believe that there are resources available at the state and federal level that we can secure through the grant process to better meet the needs of our communities and staffing levels of our police department.
* Work with local officials to integrate efforts to fight opioids –
The opioid epidemic has reached every corner of our county. The huge cuts our county budget has sustained in the areas of public health and mental health have left us unable to fully face this crisis without cooperation of all local officials, law enforcement and service providers working together to help those who are in the grasp of opioid addiction.
* Establish an MWBE compliance officer in the County Attorney’s office –
We know that Minority and Women Owned Businesses are part of the engine of economic development for Westchester. To ensure that both the laws and goals of MWBE are being met, we will establish a compliance officer to oversee and enforce compliance.
* Provide the Board of Legislators with the agreed upon contract for workers at Westchester Community College for their review and adoption-
Westchester Community College has an amazing, dedicated workforce that has been treated shabbily by our current county executive. So much of the future of our growing economy involves educating students in a rapidly changing environment. WCC is at the forefront of meeting those needs, and those who work there deserve the support and commitment of our county leaders.
* Executive order / law for immigrant protection policies –
With the veto of the Immigrant Protection Act our county has failed to set a standard for ensuring that individuals can safely and freely reach out to the police when they need help. I will immediately sign an Executive Order, developed in consultation with community leaders and law enforcement, that meets the framework of what we believe needs to be done in the new year, with legislation introduced and hopefully adopted shortly thereafter.
* Meet with union leaders regarding status of contract negotiations –
Like the workers at the community college, many of our county employees have been left working without contracts. CSEA has gone 7 years without a contract and the police have gone 5. We need to support our workers, and immediately sit down with union leaders and seriously undertake contract negotiations.
* Meet with city leaders to discuss economic development plans for our urban centers –
Westchester has more cities than any other county in the state of New York. Our cities are central to the future and economic growth of our economy. By working and planning together, we will bring smart growth and intelligent economics to Westchester’s cities.
*Increase the county’s commitment to public and mental health –
The current administration has cut funding for the County’s Health Department by more than 20%. That has resulted in the county being unable to meet the current needs in our communities. Recently, a Hepatitis A outbreak in Port Chester showed how woefully unprepared Westchester is, as the county lacked sufficient vaccine to meet the needs of the people. With a more than 50% cut to mental health funding, Westchester is failing to meet the needs of some of our most vulnerable people. We must do better, and working together, we will.
* Meet with our leading business organizations to review their agenda items for economic advancement of Westchester County-
The business organizations in Westchester understand the unique business environment in Westchester County. We have a combination of major corporations as well as mom and pop small businesses that each face unique challenges. The County needs to solicit and act upon the input from these organizations to solve those challenges.
* Review the shared services plans of other counties and adjust the Westchester plan to achieve greater savings-
The current administration’s shared services plan has been ranked among the worst in New York State. With Westchester County having the highest property taxes in the nation the County should take a leadership roll in finding areas to eliminate duplication of services and taking on higher priced services to ensure that local property taxes are lowered. This will allow Westchester County and all of the communities and school district within the County to work to together to improve services and reduce the tax burden.
* Staff up an Administration with talented, competent, and diverse individuals who are committed to moving Westchester forward-
The current administration has slashed our County workforce including experts in the planning department, which was once the best in New York State. The current administration’s cuts have impacted the execution of basic road maintenance, bridge repair, and flood mitigation. All of these will greatly impact our quality of life. As County Executive I will work to staff the planning department along with other key departments with talented, competent, diverse individuals who are committed to moving Westchester forward to ensure that the services of Westchester will once again be the best in New York State.