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Poughkeepsie… People driving into the parking lot next to the Dutchess County Office Building were in for a surprise this morning when they were greeted by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, who was working in the parking attendant’s booth. It wasn’t an April Fool’s joke, though. It was chance to highlight the efforts of all Dutchess County employees.
The County Executive traded jobs with Department of Public Works employee Melody Newton, who has long staffed the booth in the parking lot adjacent to the County Office Building. The switch brought attention to the many ways, both big and small, Dutchess County government works for its residents every day.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County employees are the face of government to the members of our community – whether they are taking tickets at this parking booth, renewing licenses in the Department of Motor Vehicles, connecting veterans with earned benefits, keeping our Parks in great shape, answering 911 emergency calls, responding to law enforcement emergencies, answering phones or performing countless other duties – and I appreciate all their efforts to make our County great. Each task is important because, in its own way, it benefits County residents. While we continue to make County government work better and be more efficient, we must always think differently about how we can serve our residents.”
The swap was part of County Executive Molinaro’s ongoing efforts to highlight the various aspects of County government and serve residents. Last month, the County Executive helped Meals on Wheels of Greater Hyde Park deliver meals to several residents, and he has also served lunch to County seniors at Office for the Aging picnics, among other interactions.
County Executive Molinaro will continue such outreach to demonstrate how local organizations and County government can benefit residents. Later this spring, for example, he will answer phones at the Dutchess County Office for the Aging on High Street in Poughkeepsie.
Ms. Newtown, affectionately known to her co-workers at “Mel,” has staffed the Market Street parking lot for more than 25 years. In October 2011, in recognition for Ms. Newton’s years of service and kindness to those she serves, the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce honored her with its Community Ambassador Award.
“Mel has always been an example of what County employee should strive to be: a devoted public servant who is enthusiastic and cares about the people with whom she interacts every day. Serving at her post for just an hour reminded me our first duty is to always put our residents first,” the County Executive said.
While County Executive Molinaro staffed the parking lot booth, Ms. Newton served as acting County Executive, signing a proclamation declaring Wednesday “Staff Swap Day” in Dutchess County.