Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus announced today he has appointed Betsy Brockway as the County Commissioner of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth.
Ms. Brockway’s appointment is part of the Steinhaus consolidation plan combining nine county departments into four, effective January 1st, 2011. The Office for the Aging, the Veteran Services Agency and the Youth Bureau will be consolidated into one single 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. There will no longer be three separate Department Head positions, those positions have been consolidated into one Commissioner Department Head position.
This bold reform and restructuring plan for Dutchess County government was the centerpiece of County Executive Steinhaus’ 2011 Executive budget proposal and was adopted by the Dutchess County Legislature earlier this month. These consolidations are forecasted to save county property taxpayers more than $1.2 million and helped ensure the county property tax levy remains frozen going in 2011.
“Betsy Brockway has been instrumental in bringing our health and human services departments together, significantly reducing county costs while continuing to provide evidence based services with quality outcomes,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “As a longtime champion of human services, Betsy Brockway is the ideal person to transition these three departments together to provide a more cohesive, unified service delivery system for our residents.”
Ms. Brockway has more than 18 years of experience with Dutchess County government. She began her career in county government when she was appointed by County Executive Steinhaus as Executive Director of the Youth Bureau in 1992. In 2005, she was promoted by the County Executive to Director of the Health and Human Services Cabinet, where she had oversight for department heads of the seven health and human services departments, including the Office for the Aging, the Veteran Services Agency and the Youth Bureau.
The work of the Health and Human Services (H&HS) Cabinet provided much of the groundwork for the consolidation of these three human services department into a single department. Since the cabinet was first created in 2005, Ms. Brockway, together with the Commissioners and Directors of the Departments of Health, Mental Hygiene, Social Services, Office for Aging, Probation and Community Corrections, Veterans Services, and Youth Bureau, have worked effectively to address issues affecting multiple departments and develop strategies to maximize the county’s resources.
With nearly half of the departments within the H&HS Cabinet being consolidated in 2011, the current structure of the H&HS cabinet will continue as a working committee, allowing the momentum of positive outcomes to continue and allowing Ms. Brockway to concentrate on guiding the transition from three departments into one.
Ms. Brockway has worked closely with each of the divisions. She has worked with the Veterans Service Agency to develop expanded outreach to veterans including the annual Veterans’ Appreciation Day held each November, and informational forums including last summer’s retirement planning options forum at Castle Point. She has also worked closely with the Office for the Aging to coordinate initiatives and events such as the Volunteer Engagement Fair and encouraging communities to incorporate sustainable principles to assist seniors with aging in place. As former Executive Director for the Youth Bureau, she is intimately familiar with the operations of the Youth Services Division.
State law requires Veterans and Youth to have distinct Directors. The “Division Director” model is already successfully used elsewhere in numerous other county departments and will be utilized in the Department of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth.
Dolan to Direct Aging Services:
In the Division for Aging Services, two senior level positions (Department Head and Aging Services Coordinator) were eliminated, replaced by one Division Director position. County Executive Steinhaus and Mrs. Brockway has selected Mary Kaye Dolan to serve as the Director of the Division for Aging Services. Ms. Dolan has 21 years experience working for Dutchess County government, including 15 years in the number two position at the Office for the Aging as the Aging Services Coordinator.
Notaro to oversee Youth Services:
In the Division for Youth Services, the Department Head position and the Youth Program Analyst position were eliminated, replaced by one Division Director position. June Ellen Notaro has been selected by County Executive Steinhaus and Mrs. Brockway to serve as Director of Division of the Youth Services. Ms. Notaro has over 22 years experience working for Dutchess County in the Youth Bureau, most recently serving as Youth Program Analyst.
Nelson Eddy Rivera (USN-Ret)) to continue as leader of Veterans Services:
In the Division for Veterans Services, Nelson Eddy Rivera (USN-Ret) will continue to serve as the Division Director providing a wealth of services and information to local veterans and their families. He has served in the Director capacity for more than six years.
The consolidation into one single Department of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth allowed for additional administrative and clerical positions to be reduced, contributing to overall savings for property taxpayers.
“We have a great team in place to make this new department successful,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “We look forward to the new opportunities to better serve our veterans, our seniors and our youth that this new structure will provide.”
Ms. Brockway will be fulfilling the duties of Commissioner of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth in an “Acting” status. A resolution confirming the appointment of Ms. Brockway as Commissioner of Services for Aging, Veterans and Youth will be forwarded to the Dutchess County Legislature for consideration and approval at its January 2011 board meeting.