Thursday, June 12, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Effort To Eliminate County

Last Monday night, June 2, about 85 Westchester taxpayers showed up at Greenburgh Town Hall to discuss specific ways in which the movement to abolish County Government, and with it probably half of a nearly $2 billion budget, might move forward, as well as how they might assist. Approximately 40 individuals signed up to serve on one, or more, of the six committees proposed and approved by a majority of those present.

Those committees include:

1. A Bi-Partisan Budget Committee, to study the County Budget, specifically searching for duplication of services otherwise provided by municipal and/or state government;

2. A Research Committee, to discover and evaluate what it was that Connecticut residents did to eliminate County government some 40 years ago;

3. A Legal Committee, consisting mainly of lawyers who will advise the group as to what legislative action would be needed to abolish Westchester County government;

4. A Marketing Committee, to carry the group’s message out to the community;

5. A Website Committee, to establish an Internet website;

6. A Funding Committee, to engage in fundraising and other activities to insure the solvency of the operation.

Reached the following day, Paul Feiner indicated that he was very pleased with the turnout, but especially pleased with the number of individuals who enthusiastically volunteered to put their professional experience and energy to work on the various committees.

Asked about a published report that County Executive Andy Spano was amused by news of the group’s second meeting, Feiner responded, “The County Executive’s Office may not be taking this movement very seriously right now, but momentum is building; people are not very happy with the abuses of taxpayer dollars and the public trust. In time, County politicians will be taking us very seriously.”

Feiner was alluding to disclosures of abusive spending by Gary Kriss, a $149,000-per-year “aide” to the County Legislature’s Chair, Bill
Ryan. He said, “We will be moving forward our Committees, creating a website, distributing lawn signs, and holding fundraising events
over the next few months.”

Contacted Wednesday, Joan Gronowski summarized her thoughts on the group’s second gathering with, “We had a very good night, particularly the formation of committees staffed with enthusiastic people.” Asked what she considered the three highest priority tasks, Gronowski said, “We must research and evaluate Connecticut’s experience 40 years ago. There were similarities, and some differences.” She continued, “Fundraising is very important, as well as setting up a website and getting our message out.”

Of those who attended last Monday night, many had been at the first gathering, at the Will Library in Yonkers, and their focus was clearly on getting the process rolling. Upcoming meetings will involve committees engaged in the nuts and bolts of their assignments.

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