Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Truth be told, Ulster County is indeed better with the separation of powers provided by the new Charter. The restructured government is just over a year old and with Michael P Hein serving as the first County Executive, he has accomplished just about what any County Exec would under these circumstances.

After a one week delay in the address due to snow, his report on the State of the County felt a bit pressured, like it was a hurdle that needed jumping. W
hat needed jumping was the economic optimism that an annual speech like this is supposed to inspire. But times are tough. People in leadership positions like us Legislators and the folks in executive positions across New York State are feeling the financial mis-steps of our State Senate and the heavy tax burden passed on to our counties.

Executive Hein declared a spending freeze for whatever departments he controls; a good start. He also hit on subjects like the Golden Hill Healthcare Facility and the new blood in the county Health Department as continuing progress points. But I wanted to hear more.
But I'm a realist. It's not so much who was giving the speech as much as what the limited options are in 2010, and the task is huge. Hein and my fellow Legislators know that we need to provide life support to Ulster County in-spite of what the state throws at us in unfunded mandates, increasing health costs, anaemic sales tax revenue and unrelenting tax increases.

Holding off on expenses is a good start, but Michael, we need details as to what you visualize as achievable goals before the budget cycle of 2011 comes around. I'd like to hear about better public transportation, tourism investments and promoting our art and military history better. Sure, I like that the road maintenance issue has started the conversation about shared services, but it cant stop there.

At one point, I felt the mantra of "The Buck Stops Here" was replaced with "Step Up Legislators", like some of Mike's bounce was diminished. That could be attributed to the change in leadership, but again, I have faith in the system and that Executive Hein and the Legislature will make the best of what comes at us this year together.

Politicos of every stripe need current and future leaders to be successful in our goals to make Ulster County a thriving bustling place to live, work and visit. So, you can fully expect me and my colleagues to be working together to do just that. Executive Hein can count on it.

I believe other Blogs have the address in video form for viewing and the transcript is available on the county website. For me, it's still a bit surreal that I was actually sitting in the middle of the room during session as a Legislator.

UC Jobs Update from Lance Matteson:


Anonymous said...

Much of the speech sounded like a "to do list" for the Legislature. Some of what you have on your post would be a good start for a "to do list" to be given to County Executive from the Legislature. I have a feeling that the County Executive's office would bristle at bit at that.

Anonymous said...

Talk about setting the bar low. Hein has not set one target that he can be measured against. He had no problem pointing fingers though.

How in the world can the State be responsible for the financial condition of a non mandated, poorly run, health care facility? If it is unaffordable Mike, grow a pair and say so. Take the necessary steps to make it affordable or close it down. That would be LEADERSHIP.

He did not talk about anything but cutting people. He did not mention that he would show LEADERSHIP and cut HIS staff.

He did not touch on the bloated, over priced Sheriff's department with it's UN-MANDATED road patrol. Don't do away with it, maybe trim it back where there is overlapping coverage. That would be LEADERSHIP.

And this business of dumping on the Legislature, who died and left him boss? He does not have the authority to tell them to do a damn thing. If I were they, I would tell him to go straight to Hell and fix it himself. He wants to take all the credit for the good stuff, he should take the responsibility for the problems too.

Anonymous said...

Ulster County tourism needs a kick in the ass. Think of all that we miss while the two branches fight over who does what and where. Hell, the new leadership cant even decide on when to have meetings. Is it really a surprize that nothing productive gets done?
How are the ads on the cross town shuttle in Manhattan doing?

Anonymous said...

4:28 --- Perfect, couldn't have said it better myself.

Anonymous said...


Your blog remains the only responsible, adult forum. Other local political blogs are nothing more than food fights and immature name-calling. Keep up your high standards.

I encourage your support of Hein but when you get a chance let him know that he comes across as self-centered and egotisical. He should come more from we and not I.

Anonymous said...

Mike: great topic- some excellent responses- but....... where does the road lead?

Time to stand tall and get some press- how about an appearance on KAPA on Tuesday at 7:00 PM
your choice of dates
take care & Good Luck
Shelly zzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

If Mike Hein had not put in the budget for 2010 that Sales Tax revenues were going to increase by $2.5 million over what we actually did in 2009, maybe he wouldn't have to freeze spending.

What was he thinking? We are only 6 weeks into 2010 and NOW we are realizing that we are not going to being seeing $2.5 million more in sales tax revenue.

What a joke! He hires a guy to write press releases at $70,000. March "do nothing" Gallagher at $90,000 and then proposes a spending freeze? How about letting go some non-essential political patronage jobs?

Hein missed Sales Tax revenues by 8 MILLION dollars last year because "he didn't see the downturn in the economy". What's the excuse this year Mike? Surely you could have seen this coming in October of 09.

It gives new meaning to the word incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Mike's personal economy is doing fine so good for him - that's his perspective and his Wiltwyck buddies. At least he doesn't have a taxpayer funded Jeep like you let Sottile have - or does he?