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County Budget Director Valerie Sommerville to Retire

Published: 12/10/2015

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced the upcoming retirement of Dutchess County Budget Director Valerie Sommerville. Ms. Sommerville has served Dutchess County for over 23 years, including the past 12 years as County Budget Director.

Valerie SommervilleCounty Executive Molinaro said, “During almost a quarter-century of service to Dutchess County, Valerie Sommerville has seen significant change in our national and local economic climate – including the Great Recession and its continued lingering impacts.  She has navigated these challenges and helped to keep Dutchess County moving forward with re-established fiscal security.    Val has helped to craft a smaller, smarter county government that runs more efficiently; and her insight and expertise have helped produce balanced budgets that continue to give residents the highest quality of services, while providing relief under New York State’s property tax freeze program. A leader among her peers statewide, Val is a credit to our county; her counterparts around New York have time and again looked to her to replicate our success and seek her guidance. We wish her every success as she moves on to her next chapter, and thank her for setting Dutchess County on a course toward greater prosperity.”

Ms. Sommerville began working for Dutchess County Government in 1992 as a Research Analyst in the Budget Office.    She was appointed Budget Director by former County Executive William R. Steinhaus in 2004. Prior to joining Dutchess County Government, she worked in various positions for the New York State Office of Mental Health, the Attorney General’s Office and the New York Power Authority.

As Dutchess County Budget Director, Ms. Sommerville has been responsible for the development and oversight of the annual operating budget and capital projects plan, advising the County Executive on fiscal policy and assisting the County Executive with special projects. Under Budget Director Sommerville’s leadership, Dutchess County was awarded the Government Finance Officers’ Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Award two years in a row for 2014 and 2015. As a member of the GFOA, she has shared her insight and expertise with other county and municipal officials as a presenter at numerous GFOA conferences highlighting the county’s cost saving initiatives and budgeting best practices. Budget Director Sommerville is also a member of the New York State Association of Counties, serving on the organization’s Taxation & Finance Standing Committee, and has served on numerous committees and workgroups throughout county government.

County Budget Director Sommerville has been a key advisor to the County Executive serving as:

  • project leader for the merger of the County Department of Mental Hygiene and Department of Health;
  • joint project leader for the development of the state-approved Government Efficiency Plan, ensuring property tax rebate checks for taxpayers;
  • joint project leader for the implementation of a new countywide financial management system;
  • chair of the Fiscal Accountability and Strategy Team and the County Fiscal Cabinet, and
  • a member of the Health Insurance Advisory Council, Capital Projects Committee and County Audit Committee.

County Legislator Dale Borchert, Chairman of the Budget, Finance and Personnel Committee, said, “Under Valerie Sommerville’s leadership, Dutchess County’s Budget Office has worked with our County Legislature to consistently pass balanced budgets with our constituents’ best interests at heart. Always accessible, Valerie has been patient in her explanation of the budget process – ensuring freshman legislators and veteran lawmakers alike understand the intricacies of each year’s document and the impact each plan will have on taxpayers – and has given each of us the most accurate information available to make an educated decision on the budget.  We are grateful for her tireless efforts to safeguard our county’s economic future, and we wish her the best in her retirement.”

Ms. Sommerville said, “During my time in the Budget Office, the County has faced significant fiscal challenges, including substantial increases in state-mandated costs and the economic impact of the Great Recession. Working together with departments, the legislature, community stakeholders, and my dedicated staff, we have overcome these challenges successfully, maintaining and strengthening the County’s fiscal foundation.  It has been a privilege to be part of this dedicated team committed to providing quality services while ever mindful of the impact to our taxpayers.  I am truly grateful for the opportunity to have worked for both County Executive Molinaro, former County Executive Bill Steinhaus and with many outstanding people throughout our county.  I know the County will continue to thrive under the leadership of County Executive Molinaro."

Sommerville will be recognized for her service by County Executive Molinaro and the members of the Dutchess County Legislature at the Legislature’s December 15th Board meeting.  Ms. Sommerville, who resides in the Town of Pleasant Valley with her husband, Timothy Mahler, plans to enjoy traveling, time with family and volunteer work in the community. Ms. Sommerville officially retires on January 30, 2016.