Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has signed four local laws amending the Dutchess County Charter and Administrative Code for the boldest reform and restructuring of county government since the current county charter structure was created in 1968. The local laws, proposed by Steinhaus, were adopted by the County Legislature earlier this month formalizing the consolidation of nine executive county departments into just four.
“This bold reform plan allows us to streamline our operations to more efficiently serve county residents, while keeping the property tax levy frozen for 2011,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “This plan helps to securely position Dutchess County government for the future, ensuring our ability to meet financial challenges and continue to serve the needs of our residents.”
Nine county departments will be consolidated under County Executive Steinhaus’ plan. Realignment activities are already underway and will continue over the next several months to fully implement the consolidation. The newly consolidated departments include:
The Division of Aging Services, Veteran Services Agency and the Youth Bureau will be consolidated into one department to be known as the Department of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth, with separate divisions focusing on the specific needs of seniors, veterans and youth.
The Department of Consumer Affairs/Weights and Measures will be absorbed by the Department of Health as a separate Weights & Measures Division.
The Department of Real Property Tax will be consolidated and realigned under the Department of Finance as its own division.
The Department of Risk Management will be consolidated within the Department of Personnel, which will be re-titled as the Department of Human Resources to more accurately reflect its functions.
The County Executive’s signature on the local laws means these consolidations become official on January 1st. However, there will be a transitional period that may span many months to complete the consolidations as staff, duties and tasks are realigned.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and part of our challenge in county government has fewer staff going into 2011 than it had in 1985, although our workload and demand for services to increase across all categories. Our goal is to make these transitions as seamless as possible for our residents and continue to deliver our programs and services without interruption,” said County Executive Steinhaus.