Westchester County Lawmakers Receive Emergency Services and Public Safety Merger Proposal
White Plains, NY, August 12, 2010 -- In a statement released today, Westchester County Board Chairman Ken Jenkins responded today to the receipt of the proposal sent from Westchester County Executive Robert to merge the County’s Public Safety and Emergency Services departments.
“This morning, the Board has received the County Executive’s proposal to merge the Emergency Services and Public Safety departments. The Administration intended to have this prepared for submission at the last Board meeting but was unable to provide their Legislation prior to Charter deadlines. All governmental modifications of Departments are the Charter responsibility of the Board. Although the official transmittal from the County Executive will not occur until the September 7th County Board meeting, the board’s Committee on Government Reform, Efficiency Savings (GRES) will have a presentation from the Department representatives on Tuesday, August 17th. We will begin our legislative process and hope to have the proposal before the full Board by our first meeting in October. This will give the Administration time to make revisions to their proposed 2011 budget, if needed.
This proposed merger makes sense operationally, that is why GRES Committee Chair Legislator Michael Kaplowitz and several legislators proposed this consolidation, among others that the Committee is actively pursuing. The details of the proposal is where the work will be, understanding the funding streams, roles and responsibilities of of the revised structure, the impact on service delivery and the Capital investments that will be necessary to effectuate the consolidation.
The Current economic times gives us a tremendous opportunity to reshape government. This first proposal will take time as we establish a framework that can be duplicated in other Departments. It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for the Administration to present this initial consolidation. The various Committees on the Board will perform their Charter responsibilities in an open and transparent manner in the Committee process where there is full public disclosure.
Now’s the appropriate time to review those services that government provides, and find a way to make the departments run more efficiently and streamlined. GRES currently is reviewing departmental consolidations with Community mental Health and eliminating the Department of Transportation. "