Michael Cunningham, OSR Director, Attends Advocacy Day in Albany

OSR Director, Michael Cunningham, was in Albany on February 6th for the Statewide Legislative Conference and Advocacy Day.  This is a yearly event that has all of the members of the Area Association on Aging meeting in Albany to share their State budget positions with Legislators and to discuss community based services for older New Yorkers.  Director Cunningham met individually with Senator Sue Serino, Senator Terrence Murphy, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Assemblyman Kevin Byrne to discuss the needs of Putnam County’s seniors as well as the programs and services offered to our senior population.   While meeting with Assemblyman Byrne, Director Cunningham was invited to join him on the Assembly Chamber Floor.  Here is a quote from  Assemblyman Kevin Byrne that was posted on his Facebook page:

“Yesterday, I was honored to meet with senior advocates from county agencies, Aging-NY and LiveOn NY in our Albany office. We had a very informative discussion covering various concerns in the Governor’s executive budget proposal. Afterwards, I escorted Michael Cunningham, our newest director of the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources, down to the Assembly Chamber Floor and formally introduced him to Albany. Thank you for all you and your colleagues do to ensure our seniors have access to the services they deserve.”

Putnam County’s Shares Services Plan to Use a Bottoms Up Approach

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell facilitated the first 2018 shared services meeting for the County-wide Shared Services Initiative with the county’s town supervisors, village mayors and other stakeholders in the community at the Bureau of Emergency Services TOPS Building in Carmel on Monday, Feb. 5.

“As a home-rule state, it is up to our local municipalities what they want to participate in,” said Odell. “New York State wants us—county, town and village governments, to collectively come up with a plan to find efficiencies and eliminate redundancies through the implementation of shares service that will generate property tax savings. However, in the end each entity can determine how much they want to be involved so, it is best to use a bottoms-up approach in the plan creation process.”

According to New York State, the County-wide Shared Services Initiative was established in the fiscal year 2018 State Budget to generate property tax savings through intergovernmental collaboration. The initiative requires the creation of a shared services panel in each county, which is chaired by the County’s Chief Executive Officer and composed of City and Village Mayors, and Town Supervisors, to develop and vote on a County-wide Shared Service Property Tax Savings Plan. The CEO may invite Special Improvement Districts, school districts or BOCES to participate in the panel. The plan will create demonstrable property tax savings in 2018 or 2019, from actions identified in it.

Odell has asked BOCES, the school districts and the fire districts to be involved with the panel.

The plan must contain new recurring property tax savings from actions such as, but not limited to: the elimination of duplicative services; shared services, such as joint purchasing, shared highway equipment, shared storage facilities, shared plowing services, and energy and insurance purchasing cooperatives; reductions in back office administrative overhead; better coordination of services.

Odell asked local elected officials to take the lead on certain topics based on the Shared Services meeting that was held in June 2017—Patterson Town Supervisor Rich Williams to take on joint purchasing, including energy and insurance; Patterson Highway Supervisor Russell Goff to explore shared highway services – Russ;  Putnam Valley Town Supervisor Sam Oliverio to analyze ways to reduce back office administrative overhead and Southeast Town Councilwoman Lynne Eckhart to look into government consolidation.

Putnam County and its towns and villages already share services such as the East of Hudson Watershed Corp, law enforcement, shared email services and the Putnam County Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability. The state will not give credit for existing programs.

Odell is having the panel work with the Commission for Fiscal Vision and Accountability, which has already identified actions that can lead to potential cost savings. The Commission, which is a currently co-chaired by Leg. Neal Sullivan and Leg. Ginny Nacerino, is a committee that was initially formed in 2007 by the Putnam County Legislature to focus on a fiscal vision for all of Putnam County consisted of business leaders, elected officials and stakeholders. Odell, who was then a legislator, and Sullivan, who was then a private citizen, were the first co-chairs of the Commission. It was re-established in June of 2014 and again by Legislative Resolution in 2017.

Previously, the Commission identified such actions as town/village infrastructure projects, garbage/recycling services, consolidation of recreational facilities/services, school district consolidation of back office functions, police department consolidation, highway depts. sharing services, county/town organizational chart analysis, health insurance savings, energy consumption, tax assessment and electronic video appearance.

“We’ve all been working on shared services for years,” said Sullivan. “Now the important thing is that the state has gotten behind shared services. There seems to be an ability or willingness to make things happen that in the past could not be done. I think there is a real possibility for progress for initiatives we had to put aside in the past because of the obstacles that were in front of them.”  He cited the possible consolidation of courts as an example.

Odell put forth three suggests for the panel to consider for the plan—electronic video appearance, a wash bay at the transportation department and county tax assessors.

Susan Savage, a representative from the NYS Department of State, was at the meeting and said that she had heard many of the same ideas in other counties throughout the state.

“You have a pretty good head start because of your Commission on Fiscal Vision and Accountability,” Savage said. “The bottoms-up approach that you are planning to use is what we, in Albany, envisioned the counties using. In addition, we are here as a resource for you.”

The panel had until Aug. 1, to development of the initial plan, which must include certification of savings due to implementation of the plan.  Odell will then submit the plan to the Putnam County Legislature.

The Legislature will have until Sept. 15 to vote on the plan and issue an advisory report with recommendations to Odell to may modify the plan. She will then submit the plan to panel. At that time mayors or supervisors can opt out of any of the proposed actions by providing to Odell a written notice of their decision with a reason explaining the opting out.

The involvement of the public, business and civic organizations is encouraged. In addition to the Commission meetings, Odell will organize at least three public hearings on the plan.

By Oct. 15, the County Executive will have to submit the panel-approved plan to NYS, circulate the report to the residents and give a public presentation of the plan.

 

Photo caption: County Executive MaryEllen Odell addresses the Shared Service Panel with Susan Savage (left) of the NYS Department of State and Leg. Neal Sullivan (right).

Odell to give State of the County Address March 15 at Putnam County Golf Course

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will present the State of the County address at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, at Putnam County Golf Course, 187 Hill Street in Mahopac.  Prior to the address, there will be a Putnam County Market Place which will open at 5:30 p.m.

As she has in the past, Odell has chosen to highlight a particular theme for the year. Odell has decided that 2018 will be “The Year of the Volunteer.”

“From our first responders to our Scouts, Chambers and Rotaries—volunteers play such an important role in the quality of life in our communities,’” said Odell. “I want to recognize those people who give of their time to help others and make Putnam County a better place to live, work and play.”

In addition, the Putnam County Market Place will highlight businesses, organizations and not-for-profits from throughout county that make Putnam the place to live, work and play.  Organization that would like to participate in the Putnam County Market Place can contact Heidi Kuhland at 845-808-1150 x49406 or Heidi.kuhland@putnamcountyny.gov.

For further information about Putnam County’s many services and departments, residents may visit the County website at: www.putnamcountyny.com/soc2018.

Odell leads Bipartisan Conference of NYS County Leaders

As NYSAC President, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell hosted county delegates from across the state at the 2018 Legislative Conference hosted by the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) at the Desmond Hotel in Albany in late January.

“This annual event is an important opportunity for county officials to share best practices, engage with state leaders, and get up to date on the priority issues facing counties,” said Odell. “We come together across party lines, from counties rural and urban, upstate and downstate, and we focus on the needs of our counties. It is a unique opportunity to share ideas, innovative solutions, and best practices.”

Over 700 attendees, including members of the Putnam County Legislature, convened in bipartisan standing committee meetings, training workshops, keynote addresses, and business meetings. The conference also included a special orientation program for newly elected and appointed county officials from across the state.

Over the course of the conference attendees heard from Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, NYS Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, NYS Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, and Harvard Kennedy School Professor Stephen Goldsmith.

The conference also included a meeting of the NYSAC Women’s Leadership Council, which brought together over 50 of New York’s women in county leadership positions.

Odell was also invited to a reception hosted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the Governor’s mansion. She had the honor of introducing the governor to the county leaders from throughout New York State.

 

Photo Caption:  Stephen J. Acquario, NYSAC Executive Director, County Executive, MaryEllen Odell & NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

PCDOH Opens Doors for Free Flu Vaccines

BREWSTER, NY— Just two weeks after declaring the flu a “health disaster emergency,” Governor Cuomo has directed the state health department to financially support local health departments to provide expanded services.

The Putnam County Department of Health will offer free flu vaccines daily at their main office, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., starting on Monday, February 12, and running through Friday, February 16. On Thursday, the hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The main office is located at        1 Geneva Road in Brewster, above the Department of Motor Vehicles.

All those over the age of six months, who live or work in New York State are welcome. No appointment is necessary. Bring proof of residency and Medicare card. Free vaccine will be administered as long as supplies last. Check the flu hotline at 845-808-1390 daily to confirm availability. Additionally, parents with children between six months and three years of age should call the health department during business hours at 845-808-1332 to check availability of the pediatric vaccine.

Vaccine consent forms are available for downloading on the Putnam County Department of Health website at www.putnamcountyny.gov/health/immunization. Forms will also be available at the flu clinic. In the event of bad weather, call the flu hotline to check for rescheduling.

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com ; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth  and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY.

Heart Health in Winter

Brewster, NY- February is Heart Health Month, an ideal time for Putnam residents to focus on their heart’s health. Most everyone knows someone who has been affected by heart disease or stroke. It is the leading cause of death in Putnam County and the U.S as well. About 2,300 Americans die of heart disease each day, that’s an average of 1 death every 38 seconds!

“The good news is, if you make simple changes, you can improve your heart’s health,” says County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “That’s why the American Heart Association started Heart Health Month—to get the word out that prevention does work. And it is not too early to start thinking about joining us for the Putnam County Heart Walk in April.”

“Your heart beats over 100,000 times a day, and you want to keep it healthy for a long time,’ says County Health Commissioner Dr. Michael J. Nesheiwat, MD. “Walking is one of the best ways to get exercise you can find.”

When it’s cold and icy outside, indoor exercise can help you stay active. This includes stair climbing, mall walking and an aerobic routine on YouTube or an exercise video. Other options for staying fit indoors are running in place or climbing stairs. Laps can be done inside your local shopping mall and a speedy one-hour walk will burn approximately 300 to 400 calories. Malls with multiple levels allow the addition of stairs to a workout. For in-home exercise, a workout DVD or a YouTube video is a good idea when there is limited space. Using a jump rope or resistance bands can also be a great addition to a home workout.

Staying physically active during the winter months is important for heart health, and so is good nutrition. Eating more vegetables, decreasing sodium intake, and focusing on lean protein sources are among the top dietary tips. Avoiding tobacco smoke can also greatly reduce a person’s risk of heart disease.

For more information on heart healthy living, visit: www.healthyforgood.heart.org.

For more information on the Putnam County Heart Walk on April 22 at Brewster High School, visit: www.heartwalk.org and enter “10509.”

The mission of the Putnam County Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB), is to improve and protect the health of the Putnam County community, composed of nearly 100,000 residents. Core services include community health assessment, disease surveillance and control, emergency preparedness, environmental health protection, family health promotion and health education. For more information, please visit our County website at www.putnamcountyny.com; or visit our social media sites on Facebook at www.facebook.com/putnamhealth and Twitter @PutnamHealthNY. ###

Mahopac Scouts Hold Court of Honor

MAHOPAC, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other elected officials and community leaders attended Mahopac Boy Scout Troop 1’s annual Court of Honor breakfast held at the hall of the Italian American Club of Mahopac on Saturday, Feb. 3. The event recognized the achievements of the 11 troop members.

“The Scouts are such an important part of our community,” said Odell. “They volunteer for events and help other organizations while learning the skills that will help them through life.”

Recognized during the Court of Honor was: Jozef Bachleda, who advanced in rank to “Scout” and earned his Family Life Merit Badge; Max Head, who earned his Family Life Merit Badge; Kyle Link, who earned his Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge; Simeon Matute, who earned his Fishing Merit Badge; Michal Mazur, who earned his Family Life Merit Badge; Ryan Murphy who  advanced in rank to “First Class” and earned his Family Life and Personal Fitness Merit Badges; Jake Roberts, who advanced in rank to “Second Class;” Tommy Rumore, who earned his Communication Merit Badge; Christopher Suscal, who advanced in rank to “Tenderfoot” and  earned his Family Life Merit Badge; Joseph Trombetta,  who earned his Camping and Citizenship in the Community Merit Badges; and Michael Vaccaro, who earned his Family Life Merit Badge.

Photo Caption: Mahopac Boy Scout Troop 1 with Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and other elected officials following the Court of Honor Breakfast held on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Staff and students of the Putnam County Youth Bureau programs meet with New York State Legislators during the 17th Annual ANYSYB Youth Leadership Forum in Albany

The Putnam County Youth Bureau attended the Youth Leadership Forum in Albany from Monday, February 5 until Tuesday, February 6, 2018.
In attendance were Janeen Cunningham, Youth Bureau Executive Director, Casandra Barcavage, Youth Program Specialist, Dana Foley, Youth Program Specialist,
Teresa Carlin, Brewster High School student, Brian McElroy, Kennedy Catholic High School student, John DeMuro, Mahopac High School student, Valerie Simpri, Brewster High School student.

Youth Bureau staff and Putnam County students met with elected officials; Senator Murphy, Senator Serino, Assemblyman Kevin Bryne and Assemblywoman Sandra Galef.
The youth educated the elected officials about the importance of youth programming in Putnam County and the programs they are involved in through the Youth Bureau.

Putnam County and Mercy College team up for new degree program

CARMEL, NY – Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell announced that Mercy College will be offering a bachelor’s degree program in corporate and homeland security management through the county’s Bureau of Emergency Services’ Training and Operations Center Building (TOPS Building) at the Donald B. Smith Campus in Carmel. The program will begin in Fall 2018.

“We are a community of first responders—career and volunteer, and this program helps builds a succession plan in law enforcement, first responders and EMS, which we know is critical, not just here but for the Hudson Valley,” said Odell. “Also, by teaming up with Mercy College we can advance our secondary educational opportunities in Putnam County.”

Mercy College’s Bachelor of Science degree in corporate and homeland security management is a four-year degree offered through the School of Business. It is the first undergraduate degree of its kind, designed to provide a comprehensive background for students interested in pursuing professional managerial careers in the private or public sectors where business and security skills coexist. The B.S. degree in corporate and homeland security management offers students a cutting-edge degree—one which speaks to the expanding and dynamic role that security now plays in virtually every business and government career.

“This a unique program run by Dr. Matthew Miraglia. It is perfect for corporate and government leaders or those who want to become leaders,” said Dr. Ed Weis, dean of Mercy College’s School of Business. “We want to focus this program on career advancement as opposed to just academic theory.”

To encourage residents to participate in the program, Putnam County is partnering will Mercy College to offer several scholarships for the Fall 2018 class.

“We understand how cost constraints limit the opportunity for many to continue their education,” said Odell. “Our goal is to make it low cost and affordable.”

There will be one full scholarship and several partial scholarships awarded. Applicants can be nominated through their school district, fire department, EMS agency or other government entity.

Mercy College has its main campus in Dobbs Ferry and other campuses in Manhattan, the Bronx and Yorktown.

For more about the program visit www.mercy.edu/degrees-programs/bs-corporate-and-homeland-security. For more information about the scholarship program call the County Executive’s Office at 845-808-1001.

Odell Supports Search for Outstanding Senior Citizens

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell is supporting Director of the Office for Senior Resources, Michael Cunningham, and the Putnam County Senior Citizens Advisory Board as they seek nominations for this year’s SENIOR CITIZEN OF THE YEAR AWARD.

“We are fortunate to have a very active senior population,” said Odell. “Selecting one man and one woman from among so many seniors who do so much to make a difference and enhance the lives of Putnam residents will be an exciting challenge.”

This year’s nominating theme is “ENGAGE AT EVERY AGE.”

Candidates must be 60 years of age or older and residents of Putnam County.

Two seniors from each of New York’s counties will be honored at a luncheon on
May 22nd in Albany. Putnam’s winners will also be honored at the annual
Putnam County Senior Volunteer Ceremony this spring.

Nominations should be made on an official form which can be obtained from the
Office for Senior Resources or downloaded from their website: http://www.putnamcountyny.com/osr.
Completed nomination forms must be received by Friday, March 2, 2018. Forms may be mailed to: Senior Award, Putnam County Office for Senior Resources, 110 Old Rt. 6, Building No. 1, Carmel, NY 10512 or faxed to (845) 808-1942 or emailed to: sherrie.gilmore@putnamcountyny.gov.

Employees of federal, state, county, or local municipalities who provide services to senior citizens are not eligible to be nominated. Previous recipients of this award are also ineligible.

Senior of the Year Nomination Form 2018

For more information or to request a nomination form, please call the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources at (845) 808-1700.