Here is a second serving of Terry Bernardo’s speech. Honestly, I can’t blame her for trying to keep it under wraps.
delivered by Terry Bernardo on January 2, 2013 – Part 2
It is time for the residents of Ulster County to share their vision to the elected officials through the Citizens Advisory Board, and for those elected officials – meaning us – to use that information to craft a budget where policies as desired by the citizens of Ulster County are effectuated.
Most recently we’ve heard from the Catskill Mountain Railroad and the Trails Advisory Committee of their vision of what they want Ulster County to be. I know that I was not the only Legislator who was taken aback though by the comments on the night of the budget vote.
Those were voices which we should have heard much earlier in the budget process. Many of our boards are still critical to our County; they are mandated by the Charter to advise the Legislature and the Executive on matters pertaining to their departments.
The Community Services board is described in the Charter that they shall advise the Commissioner, the Executive and the Legislature on matters pertaining to mental health, yet during the budget process we’ve heard from numerous individuals and other elected officials of not being consulted or advised.
It is my view that we should not accept policy recommendations that have not been vetted through appropriate citizen advisory boards such as the Community Service Board or the Railroad Advisory Board.
That choice though – as I’ve learned – is not mine, it’s all of ours. These individuals were entrusted to help us act on desires of Ulster County residents. This year we must increase and improve the measures to ensure that their voices are heard.
Now, I’m willing to stand up to anyone who utterly ignores their own Citizen Advisory Board, but I won’t do it without your help. I’m willing to have stones thrown at me – heck, as you can see I’m really, really good at it – but not unless I know that you ought to insist on better communication between these groups and County government.
Envisioning we need to start with better relationships with our citizen advisory groups, months before we receive the tentative budget.
This Legislature’s financial vision must be communicated to those drafting the tentative budget for their consideration prior to the presentation of the tentative budget to this body.
I’m asking Legislators Gerentine and Gregorius to report to the Ways and Means Committee how they best feel that we can accomplish improved communications with our Citizen Groups and I am prepared to offer my own ideas for their consideration as well.
Come back tomorrow for the next installment. Till then, post your comments – if you have something to say about 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.