New City, NY (January 8, 2014) – Rockland County Legislator Alden H. Wolfe has been selected as the chair of the Rockland County Legislature for 2014. Wolfe succeeds Legislator Harriet Cornell, who served nine consecutive terms as chair.
Chairman Wolfe was first appointed to represent Legislative District 6 in 2006 and was elected to the position in 2008. He attended Ramapo High School and is a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law and the Maxwell School of Citizenship, where he received a Masters degree in Public Administration. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Management/Finance from Binghamton University. He is an attorney in private practice in New City. He is well known for his work to protect educational quality through his long service with the Rockland Community College, and is also responsible for the construction of affordable housing in Spring Valley and Hillburn through his former position as Vice President of Habitat For Humanity of Rockland. He is also a member of the 2004 class of Leadership Rockland. In 2005, Alden was selected for inclusion in Marquis' Who's Who in America, and in 2006 was selected for inclusion in Who's Who in Emerging Leaders and Who's Who in Finance and Business. Alden and his daughter reside in Montebello.
Alden has authored many local laws covering a wide variety of issues affecting Rockland County, including: a law that prohibits the sale of drop-sided cribs and the BPA Free Children’s and Babies Law prohibiting the sale in Rockland County of children’s beverage and teething products containing Bisphenol A. Alden also co-sponsored the Truth in Budgeting Law, which was a resolution to ensure that salaries for elected officials and those appointed for a fixed term conform to the Budget adopted for that fiscal year. In 2010, the County Legislature passed Alden’s Local Law to restrict the use of trans fats in local establishments. Alden also sponsored the law that allows food establishments that generate grease and oil to use biological methods to pretreat and breakdown the captured waste. In 2011 Alden introduced a Local Law establishing the Rockland County Multiple Dwelling Smoking Act. A staunch advocate for protection of the environment and preservation of natural resources, Alden eliminated polystyrene foam from County government and wrote the law requiring that major County construction projects conform to strict building standards. He is outspoken on the issue of the negative aspects of hydrofracking, the need to preserve Rockland’s water resources and questions the need for a costly desalination plant.
“I am honored,” said Chairman Wolfe, “ by the confidence placed in me by my colleagues. This role begins a new professional challenge, made all the more challenging as I follow in the footsteps of Harriet Cornell, who has done so much for Rockland County. I look forward to continuing to rely on her expertise.”
“Here, at the beginning of 2014,” said Wolfe, “ I believe that Rockland County has turned a corner. We have a balanced budget that incorporates both the recommendations of our independent auditors and the requirements of the NYS Comptroller and we have adopted a fund balance management policy to help us manage future events. We look forward to a new era of cooperation between the Executive and Legislative branches. Our new County Executive, Ed Day plans on being a strong and effective leader, and I look forward to working with him and his administration as true partners in government.”
Going forward, Chairman Wolfe plans to continue to explore changes to the county’s budget process. He will continue to advocate against the “unnecessary and costly” desalination plant proposal and will introduce a non-emergency water conservation law to heighten awareness of wasteful water use practices.
“I will continue to champion Rockland County Government and the myriad of services that it provides to our citizens,” added Wolfe, “I ask my colleagues to join me in sharing our pride for what we do as a government.”
- Full Text of Chairman Wolfe’s Address is attached –
Alden H. Wolfe
Remarks upon being appointed as Chairman of the Legislature
January 6, 2013
I have to say from the outset that I'm honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me by my colleagues this evening. I thank Judge Walsh for his friendship and for giving of his time this evening to administer the oath. I also offer my sincere gratitude to Harriet, Michael and Ilan for their kind words. It's a little disconcerting to sit here and listen to these types of comments, and I find myself wondering whether they were really talking about someone else. Thank you.
For me, tonight marks the beginning of a new professional challenge, and nothing could be more challenging than following in the footsteps of a person such as Harriet Cornell. I have such admiration and respect for her and her nominating remarks mean so much to me. She cares deeply about Rockland County and if I can bring only a fraction of her dedication to this position, then I will have done my job well. But she's not going anywhere, and I look forward to continuing to rely on her experience and expertise as we move forward together in 2014.
I'd also like to thank my family, friends and loved ones who've come out to support me tonight, but most particularly my daughter, Morgan. She was there in January of 2006 at age 4 when I was first appointed to the Legislature, and has been with me for every swearing in since. She's simply the most important thing in my life. I hope that when she's all grown up, she'll want to make Rockland County her home. This is what drives me to work toward creating a community here in Rockland that we can all be proud of.
I also offer my congratulations to our new County Executive, Ed Day. Ed and I first took office as Legislators on the same night, and we've enjoyed a strong working relationship ever since. I hope and trust that this year will bring with it a new era of cooperation between the branches of government. He plans on being a strong and effective leader, and I look forward to working with him and his administration as true partners in government.
The past few years have seen our County dealing with the most challenging economic conditions in generations. In Rockland, we've struggled to find the right balance between providing services to our residents and generating the revenues needed to pay for them. Put simply, nothing ever gets cheaper. We've had to make some very difficult decisions, but here at the beginning of 2014 I believe that Rockland County has turned the corner.
I'm proud that we have a balanced budget for 2014 that incorporates both the recommendations of our independent auditors and the requirements of the New York State Comptroller. We have conservative revenue estimates and a spending plan that sets us up for a year in the black. We're in the process of implementing our painful decision to sell our nursing home and hospital. Our deficit financing request has been approved by New York State. We've adopted a fund balance management policy which creates a rainy day fund to help us manage future events. Rockland is poised for success.
But the work is never over. This year, I plan to continue exploring changes to our budget process that would give us more time to review the County Executive's proposed budget and broaden the choices available to us. With many of my colleagues, I'll continue to advocate against the unnecessary and costly desalination plant and oppose what essentially amounts to a water tax. In the coming weeks I'll also be introducing a non-emergency water conservation law that will maximize conservation and heighten awareness of our most wasteful water use practices. But must importantly, I plan on being an advocate for Rockland County government and the myriad of services that it provides to our citizens. As chairperson, Harriet Cornell has always highlighted the many ways that Rockland County government affects our lives, from public health to social services, road maintenance to consumer protection, land records to criminal prosecution. I'll continue to champion this message, and ask my colleagues to join me in sharing our pride for what we do as a government.
During my post-graduate studies, I had the honor of attending the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. Inscribed in the lobby of Maxwell Hall is an excerpt from the Oath of the Athenian City State, which I believe reflects what should be the ultimate aspiration of all public officials. I know that I often refer to the Oath in these chambers, and by now I think my colleagues probably could recite it by heart, but I feel it particularly appropriate to read it tonight because, it represents what the citizens of Rockland County should expect from us as their representatives.
"We will ever strive for the ideals and sacred things of the city, both alone and with many; we will unceasingly seek to quicken the sense of public duty; we will revere and obey the city's laws; we will transmit this city not only not less, but greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us."
Greater, better and more beautiful than it was transmitted to us. We as Legislators have an opportunity not given to many - the chance to make our mark, leave an imprint, make a positive change in our community. I know that I'm far from perfect, but I promise to everyone here tonight, that I'll do my best to reward the trust that's been placed in me, so that when we're gone, Rockland County will be greater, better and more beautiful for us having been here.