George Latimer Discusses His Plans for 2018


George Latimer (right) speaking at the executive office in White Plains. Photo by Sean Browne

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Speaking at Westchester County Office Building this past Thursday, newly elected County Executive George Latimer discussed his plans moving forward for the county.

The first issue that brought up was the county budget for the upcoming year, Latimer acknowledged the difficulties that are faced with the budget due to his predecessor Rob Astorino.

“The budget that I inherited was not properly disposed,” Latimer said. “My predecessor did not close the single biggest labor contract that had to be dealt with which is the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA). The main unit of civil service employees which is around 3,000 people and there has not been a valid contract for six years going on seven that’s a long time to do without a contract.”

Latimer acknowledged that certain cuts in areas and an increase in taxes is necessary because there was a $20,000,000 fiscal deficit for 2017, according to Latimer.

A formal budget for 2019 won’t be presented publicly until November. Internally work will begin on the budget  in the Spring.

While the budget isn’t on Latimer’s to-do list for now, he did recently sign an executive order that will keep his and his predecessor’s names and likenesses off county signs.

“These facilities belong to the people of the county, not the county executives,” Latimer said. “This isn’t Mount Rushmore here. Do the job of running the government and do it without a lot of personal attention and promoting yourself.”

In regard to the new bridge built new Tappan Zee Bride, officially called Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, Latimer would have liked to see a committee of variety of different people making the decision as to what to name the bridge, instead of Governor Andrew Cuomo naming the bridge after his father.

“You name something after Washington, Lincoln, or Roosevelt and you have a good idea why something is being named after them,” Latimer said. “I am not critical of the Governor because Andrew Cuomo was the driving force behind the bridge being completed. Me personally, we are not going to name anything unless there is a community debate about it.”

Latimer also spoke about dangers of the white-nationalist group Identity Evropa that has been trying to recruit college kids to join their group.

Last October, Identity Evropa posted fliers on the Westchester Community College campus, and Latimer hopes that the ten new members on the Westchester County Humans Rights Commission will help combat Identity Evropa.

“The new Human Rights Commission will help push back on this,” Latimer said. “They will use their public education function to help uncover this.”