BY MICHAEL RICONDA
The Rockland County Legislature convened for an organizational meeting on January 3, 2013, during which it re-elected Legislator Harriet Cornell as its chairwoman and selected other individuals for various positions within and connected to the legislature.
Cornell, who represents District 10 in Rockland, was sworn in to continue the position she held since her initial election as chairwoman in 2005. The re-election is the most recent victory in a legislative career which stretches back to her first year as a legislator in 1984.
“We have literally had to face storms of historic proportions-some natural and some manmade-and I am honored to stand with each of you in service to the people of Rockland County,” Cornell said as she reflected back upon 2013 in her acceptance speech.
Cornell stated that her priorities for 2013 included support for both tighter gun control measures and school resource officer programs to prevent violence, continued efforts to eliminate the deficit, exploring alternatives to the recommended Local Development Corporation (LDC) plan for the Summit Park Nursing Home, developing sustainability plans for the county’s water supply, and a continued commitment to public employees and families.
In her speech, Cornell also express thanks and continued support to nonprofits and county workers, emphasizing their importance in maintaining county functions which include education, infrastructure, healthcare, and social services.
“Nothing I have done means more to me than the work I have done with schools on behalf of children and families,” Cornell said.
Legislators Michael M. Grant and Toney L. Earl praised Cornell for her past work, which includes advocacy for county mandate relief in Albany, campaigns to preserve the county’s bond rating, and the renewed push for the Tappan Zee Bridge rebuild project.
“As a legislator for over 25 years, she has given a voice to those who have not been heard and reached across all lines of class, race, age, and party to make Rockland County for all of us,” Earl said.
In other organizational matters, Legislator Alden H. Wolfe of District 6 was retained as vice chairman, Lawrence O’Toole was re-appointed as clerk the legislature, and Democratic Legislator Jay Hood Jr. replaced Legislator Michael M. Grant as the majority leader, while Republican Legislator Christopher J. Carey replaced Legislator Frank Sparaco as the minority leader.
Also chosen were Mary Widmer as deputy clerk, Legislator Tony L. Earle as deputy majority leader, and Legislator Frank Sparaco as deputy minority leader.
Other items unrelated to elections and appointments included resolutions providing a blanket bond for Rockland County officers and the designation of official and supplemental newspapers for the county.