For reasons known only to Terry Bernardo, the January 2 organizational meeting’s
webcasting was blocked, so only a few people present in the room had the opportunity to enjoy the Chairwoman’s Address. Two weeks passed by, and Bernardo’s speech is not yet posted on the Ulster County Legislature’s website. As a public service, I’m posting here the transcript of the speech, starting with this first installment:
delivered by Terry Bernardo on January 2, 2013 – Part 1
I want to thank all of you who voted for me for your support, and I wish all of you a Happy New Year.
In the neighboring counties we have a County Legislature who has hired lawyers to sue the County Executive over their budget.
We got a Legislature and an Executive in Washington that almost pushed our nation off the fiscal cliff.
Look, relationships could be tough and governmental relations are no different. Whatever differences some of us had last year can either be left to frustrate this body, or we can join together and do what I heard last month – become the policy making body that we are authorized to be. I opt for the latter and believe you all do so as well.
Together we did accomplish many good things last year. We led on economical development issues for projects such as the Olympic Regional Development Authority taking over the Belleayre.
We also pushed back against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in action at Williams Lake and we successfully positioned the Hudson Landing project with State funding.
We accomplished what I believe was every major goal of Charter reform, and we enacted the first county “brine” law in New York State.
We led the effort in the Town of Wawarsing to hold the New York City Department of Environmental Protection accountable and help secure millions for Wawarsing and began to sign the first buyouts for the flood ravaged families.
We called out the New York State DEC for cuddling the serial polluters known as the New York City DEP.
We certainly had spirited committee debates and either we like it or not, we solved problems that were on this County’s plate for years, if not for decades.
We made promises and we kept them, but we do have more work to do.
Policy determination is the alignment of visions and goals among the County’s elected leaders in this chamber – as well as in our towns, cities and village halls.
I voted for, and many of you voted for an executive branch of government to ensure greater efficiency in leadership.
Many of us may have been disappointed by personality-driven differences, but is the result we must look for.
As a body, we have been most successful in our policy determining when we worked together.
Sometimes in this post-Charter legislative body there has been a lack of clarity on what is policy making and what is administration.
On the night of the 2013 budget vote leader Donaldson highlighted that the County Executive has been setting policy through his budget recommendations.
My friends, that is your choice, it is our choice. In 2011 it was the Nursing Home. In 2012 it was Flow Control. In 2013 it can be a budget that administers policy enacted by the County Legislature. Otherwise we can maintain the status quo. It’s your call.
There will ever be some overlaps between policy and administration, but it is up to this legislative body to ensure clarity of distinction on this issue.
Those without vision spent considerable energy on wrong, irrelevant issues, bouncing reactively from one topic to another. In short, they can’t see where they are going.
I know that you’re anxious to read the rest of the speech. It’s coming. Meanwhile, don’t be shy, comment on what you’ve read so far.
– Jon Dogar-Marinesco
NOTE: If I missed a few letters from the speech, the remedy is simple: let Terry Bernardo post the actual speech, and I will correct my mistakes, if any.