Skip to comments.Any Freepers in Westchester NY near Capitol Center 12/17?
Posted on 12/16/2009 2:10:41 PM PST by The Doctor
Westchester Citizens' Group Launches Petition Drive To Restructure County Government
Grassroots citizens group to gather Dec. 17 in White Plains
Published on December 16, 2009 by Shirley Cloyes DioGuardi
Rethinking Westchester Government, a nonpartisan, grassroots citizens' group, is planning a county-wide petition drive to downsize Westchester County's government. The 400-member group was formed 18 months ago to research and recommend more effective and efficient ways of delivering services to Westchester residents. Founding members include Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner and former Congressman Joe DioGuardi, who have been named the group's co-chairs. A press conference will be held on Thursday, December 17, at 11:00 a.m., in front of the Westchester County Center in White Plains.
Commenting on the upcoming launch, DioGuardi said, "Our county government is broken. It is permeated with waste and inefficiency. Tax increases are used to pay for patronage, unnecessary expenses, and duplication of services. If government were run efficiently from top to bottom, we could begin to reduce our outrageously high property taxes in a significant way. He also stressed the need for a more citizen-based format for county government with fewer paid officials. "Change is both urgent and possible," DioGuardi asserted. "Now is the time to demand it."
Feiner emphasized the inefficiencies in the current system and the potential for significant cost savings. "I recognize that we need to continue to offer residents vital services. However, the state, county, and local governments could save money by shifting responsibilities and eliminating duplication and unnecessary costs, Feiner said.
The Rethinking campaign consists of two parallel efforts: replacing the current Board of Legislators through a statutory petition process and appealing to the current Board of Legislators to establish a Westchester County Charter Revision Commission. Rethinking Westchester Government will initiate the first effort with a petition drive to replace the Board of Legislators with a Board of Supervisors made up of local government representatives, who are already paid for their public service by their municipalities. Under New York States Alternative County Government Law, enacted in 1952, voters have the ability to conduct a petition drive to change county government. The organization and procedure for collecting the signatures required to authorize a popular vote on the Rethinking Westchester Government measure will be announced shortly.
According to Feiner, If the Supervisors and Mayors were to replace the Board of Legislators, there would be an immediate savings of millions of dollars. Working directly with the County Executive, the Supervisors and Mayors could then devote more time to deciding which level of government should run essential services. The need to reinvent our county government in this way stems from the fact that Town Supervisors and City Mayors do not have a stake in having a large county government. This is not true of our County Legislators, who seem to need bigger budgets to justify their jobs. For many years the county had a Board of Supervisors. A modern version of that board would increase efficiency and reduce the size of county government.
In parallel, the Rethinking campaign will appeal to the County Board of Legislators to establish a Westchester County Charter Revision Commission to evaluate its Charter with the aim of streamlining county government. As part of this process, the Board of Legislators would be asked to create a bipartisan Citizens' Budget Commission with authority to analyze and challenge county spending. The latter Commission would have ongoing responsibility for overseeing the budgetary, financial management, and financial reporting practices of the county.
In addition to DioGuardi and Feiner, the executive committee of Rethinking Westchester Government includes Bobbie Anne Cox, Robert J. Flower, Robert A. Fois, Richard J. Garfunkel, Stephen I. Mayo, Eleanor McDonald, Bob Meyerson, and Lloyd I. Roos.
Just talked to former NY Congressman Joe DioGuardi, and he says that "the board of legislators has had nine months to take action and years to review the charter" and now they are simply trying to placate us with their own press conference when they hear about the impending Rethinking Westchester Government citizens petition to downsize local government; which meets on Dec. 17 at County Center in White Plains (11 a.m). That's akin to putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. It won't work. We need real change. DioGuardi and this citizens group will not be stopped and are here to put the board on notice that the days of unnecessarily high taxes for Westchester citizens are over.
When it comes to Westhchester County and all other governments, the government that governs best is that which governs least.
Agree completely. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi and a Greenburgh Town Council member are leading the charge to take local government back from the “Board of Legislators.”
won’t be around tomorrow, though I was at the county center for the Tea Party last 4/15....keep me on any Westchester County activism pind lists...thanks
Will do - Board of Legislators Chair announced yesterday a move to review the charter, but I suspect Ryan’s move was to deflate the growing county movement to “take back” the government and reduce taxes.
let’s hope Astorini stays true to his word....the SOB Spano is giving us a nice present on the way out the door...
Did you read in The Journal News that Ryan— who set up that citizens’ charter review commission— is now out as BoL chair and Ken Jenkins from Yonkers is the new chair?