Rochester, NY - As a continuation of his pledge to focus on collaboration, County Executive Candidate Adam Bello today announced that upon taking office, he would bring back the Council of Governments (COG) - an intergovernmental body made up of all local governments in Monroe County, that has been abandoned by the Cheryl Dinolfo Administration.
"Whether it was the disaster earlier this year with Early Intervention and Preschool Special-Ed services, or the lack of a coordinated, aggressive response to the opioid epidemic, most of the current administration's failings can be traced back to a lack of communication and collaboration," said Bello. "While there has never been a stated reason for discontinuing this group, I believe it is a clear reflection of the current administration's difficulty in and unwillingness to work with other key stakeholders. This must change and bringing back the Council of Governments is a much-needed first step."
The Council of Governments was created by Monroe County in 2000 as body comprised of all the chief elected officers of the County, City of Rochester, and every town and village in Monroe County.
The only time County Executive Dinolfo has brought local officials together has been for the mandated meeting of the New York State Shared Services Initiatives. Even then, the county has seemingly only done so reluctantly and offered little facilitation of collaborative discussion. Since 2017, the only a handful of such meetings have taken place, as required by the State.
Bello was joined at the press conference by Henrietta Town Supervisor Steve Schultz and candidates for Monroe County Legislature Michael Yudelson and Terry Daniele. “In the 18 months since my election, one of the most frustrating aspects has been some of the services coming out of the county, including the implementation of Civil Service or the Youth Services out to Towns. These are issues every municipality has to deal with,” Schultz said. “I was excited to hear Adam Bello was running for County Executive because he has a track record of bringing people together to solve problems. A revitalized Council of Governments can address many of the bureaucratic issues holding municipalities back, and Adam is a leader I have confidence in to get the job done right.”
Yudelson, who is running to represent Legislative District 13, spoke of his previous experience as Henrietta Town Supervisor. “I participated in the Council of Governments and saw firsthand the benefit of collaboration. We worked together to identify collective issues, coordinate services, and take action to protect taxpayers. At such a critical time for our community, our elected and appointed representatives should be working together more, and at every opportunity. Anything less is a disservice to our community, so I support and applaud Adam Bello's proposal.
Daniele added, “The 5th Legislative District represents 4 different towns, so the value in bringing back the Council of Governments is clear to me as it presents an important way to bring all stakeholders to the table. Collaboration on the most important issues facing our community, like infrastructure, intelligent job growth, the safety of our children, the opioid crisis and clean energy is essential. But it is clear that we need new leadership to get there.”
Bello added that this proposal has the interests of taxpayers in mind, and there is a constant charge on local government to maintain or enhance government services, while being mindful of local taxpayers.