George Latimer is sworn in as Westchester County Executive Monday afternoon by Judge Gretchen Walsh. For a video of the swearing in go to this YouTube link below, or copy and post in your browser. Photos,Video Special to WPCNR by Peter Katz.
WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. January 1, 2018:
With the overarching themes of the day being transparency and restoration, newly sworn-in County Executive George Latimer issued a series of “day one” actions that signal an administration focused on giving the people of Westchester their County back. Actions included:
- Sending a formal request to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to perform a full and open fiscal review of policies and procedures.
- Issuing an Executive Order removing the names and likeness of the County Executives from all County signage.
- The issuance of the “Good Neighbor” policy to better involve municipalities in decisions that impact their communities.
- The formation of a task force aimed at revisiting shared-services in the County.
- The announcement of the #MyWestchester social media campaign aimed at celebrating the County.
- The announcement of his two-week intensive “Tour of Change.”
As one of his first official actions, County Executive Latimer signs a request to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli to do an audit of the Westchester County Budget. Photo Special to WPCNR by Peter Katz
On the fiscal review, Latimer said this is the most pressing issue:
“This will help pull back the curtain and show just exactly where we are. We have a long road ahead of us – together – and to get on that road we need to know exactly where we are going. I look forward to working with the Comptroller and the people of Westchester on analyzing the results of the review and where we need to go next.”
As for removing the names and likeness of the County Executives from all signage, Latimer said this applies to all directional, informational and promotional signs and applies to all County elected officials.
The only exception would be for the office building where one is based. Latimer said he is simply giving the County back to the people.
“These parks were here long before I came into office and will be enjoyed by residents long after I leave,” said Latimer, “Westchester’s natural beauty does not belong to one person. Westchester residents don’t care who gets credit for a project or who was in office when it happened, they just want to know that the needed work is done and that’s exactly how I intend to operate.”
Under the “Good Neighbor” policy, the County would be required to make a formal presentation of any significant proposed action on county land at a regularly scheduled, televised meeting of the local governing body (City Council, Town Board or Village Board).
The locality would have 60 days before the action would be implemented, to allow for a local public forum to gather public input from residents. Then the locality would submit a memo of support, neutrality, or opposition to the action before the county acts.
“Government is for the people, by the people – and that means including all stakeholders in its decision making. This policy will not only lead to greater cooperation but also to more successful projects thanks to the input from residents who they will impact most.” said Latimer.
Also affecting municipalities will be the issue of shared services.
Last year, Governor Cuomo announced an action plan for County governments to assemble the municipalities that make it up to create shared-services plans that will show real savings to the taxpayers.
For a County of its size, the plan formulated by Westchester lacked the originality – and savings – that other smaller counties came up with. Latimer is focused on the formation of a task force aimed at revisiting just how much local Westchester governments can share services.
“It’s on us in government to find ways to deliver the services all Westchester residents rely on- while doing it in the most cost-effective manner possible,” said Latimer. “To do this, all of us need to get back to the table and examine where we can consolidate without diminishing.”
Lastly, County Executive Latimer announced a social media campaign aimed at showing the world just who we are in Westchester County.
The #MyWestchester campaign asks residents – from all over the County – to share images, videos, and anecdotes about what makes them proud to call Westchester home.
“Westchester is home to so many wonderful people, businesses, parks, waterways and a whole host of other things that make it such an ideal destination for folks to live, work, visit and raise a family here. This is a way to show our pride. Keep an eye out for some of my posts, and I will be sure to share some favorites. Westchester is a special place and we are eager to show it off.”
Today, the oath and the series of announcements concluded with Latimer announcing his two-week “Tour of Change” Campaign where he will be making announcements on issues discussed in his campaign all over the County.