Timelines 9/19/13

Day Says Rockland County Consumer Home Improvement Protection Act is Effective

This week Rockland County Legislator Ed Day (New City-Pomona) expressed satisfaction with ongoing enforcement activity against traveling bands of illegal contractors commonly referred to in law enforcement circles as “gypsy pavers.”

The Rockland County Consumer Home Improvement Protection Act, introduced by Legislator Day in 2009, has been an effective tool in preventing crimes against local citizens, he said, noting that it authorizes additional penalties and impoundment of equipment of persons who operate as home improvement contractors in the county without a valid license.

“The goal at the time was to both close a legal loophole that allows illegal contractors who consistently ignore the rules honest contractors abide by, and to bring us in line with enforcement efforts of surrounding counties so we do not become a haven for the traveling bands of itinerant workers known to traverse neighborhoods looking to rip people off,” said Legislator Day, adding “To see these criminals stopped cold is extremely satisfying.”

Last month, Clarkstown Police received a complaint from a paving business located in Rockland County that there were people going around soliciting and doing business under his business name and license number. The investigation resulted in the arrest of three males, believed to be a part of “Irish Travelers” criminal group. They were Irish nationals here in the United States on a three-month visa. The group was doing substandard work, and would intimidate homeowners into paying more than the agreed upon price for the work.

Investigation also revealed they were operating in adjacent states and using legitimate business licenses fraudulently to solicit work.

County Receives Digital Government Achievement Award

County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef announced that the Rockland County Planning Department’s Geographic Information System (GIS) team has received a National 2013 Digital Government Achievement Award in the Government-to-Government Category from the Center for Digital Government. The award was an Honorable Mention for the county’s GIS Emergency Application. The Digital Government Achievement Awards, which highlight outstanding agency and department websites and applications, presented 57 awards in 10 categories to governments throughout the country this year.

The county’s GIS Emergency Application, an online interactive mapping tool, was first used last October to expedite emergency response during Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath. Designed to be efficient to use and

easy to learn, the application was tested prior to the storm and used with success throughout and after the storm. The application, which provides a map-based common operating picture, enabled county, local and

state highway, fire, police, utility, the Red Cross and other emergency personnel to record and share information on road obstructions and closures as events unfolded.

The county, hardest hit by tidal surges and winds that downed trees and power lines, used this information during the storm to organize, prioritize and direct crews in clearing major highways and roads and to route emergency vehicles and evacuations. After the storm, updated information on changing road conditions was

critical to restoring power, managing cleanup and re-opening schools and businesses.

State Pension Fund Searching for New York Investments

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli this week announced that nearly $400 million is available for investing in New York-based companies through the New York State Common Retirement Fund’s In-State Private Equity Program. Since taking office in 2007, DiNapoli has added $624 million to the program for a total commitment of more than $1 billion.

“The In-State Private Equity Program has proven to be a win for the state’s economy and for the state pension fund. For every dollar invested in exited companies, we’ve made $1.60,” DiNapoli said. “We’ve invested in 252

companies in New York and put thousands of New Yorkers to work. We still have nearly $400 million that we want to invest in established, growing or startup companies. Our message to these entrepreneurs is if you’re prepared to make a commitment to New York and can demonstrate a compelling case for our investment, we’ll make a commitment to you and your business.”

Through the In-State Program, the New York State Common Retirement Fund has established long-term partnerships with 18 private equity managers from around the state who invest in companies that require capital for growth, to refinance ownership or for early stage investment.