NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- On Monday, the Westchester County Board of Legislators (BOL) elected Legislator Michael Kaplowitz, (D) Yorktown, New Castle, Somers as Board Chairman and Legislator Jim Maisano ( R ) New Rochelle, Pelham, Pelham Manor as Vice-Chairman for the 2014-2015 Legislative term.
Chairman Kaplowitz and Vice-Chairman Maisano were sworn in as Legislators on the same day as members of the freshman legislative class of 1997. Both have served on numerous committees and held leadership positions during the last 16 years.
Chairman Kaplowitz previously served as Vice-Chairman of the BOL and played a critical role in the passage of the historic, bipartisan 2013 budget. Throughout his career in public service, Chairman Kaplowitz has earned a reputation as a Legislator who works diligently to foster an atmosphere of cooperation and bipartisanship with all of his colleagues. Chairman Kaplowitz is a fiscal conservative and small business owner who has found and eliminated millions of dollars in wasteful government spending.
Following the vote, Chairman Kaplowitz said, "I am humbled and honored by the support of my colleagues and I am thrilled to accept the position of Chairman of the Westchester County Board of Legislators. Bipartisanship is a word that is spoken often but is not put into practice often enough. Here in Westchester County we will make bipartisan collaboration the standard not the exception." Chairman Kaplowitz went on to say, " We all have different philosophies and bipartisanship does not mean that we pretend to agree on every issue but we can find a way to work through our disagreements in a positive and constructive way."
Vice-Chairman Jim Maisano held the position of minority leader for the last four years. During Vice-Chairman Maisano's tenure as Minority Leader, the county tax levy has remained flat or been reduced each year. Under Vice-Chairman Maisano's leadership, the Republican caucus has sought to build consensus on the difficult issues facing county government like subsidized childcare, the fair and affordable housing settlement and the re-invention of Playland amusement park.
At the reorganization meeting Vice-Chairman Maisano said, "When Michael Kaplowitz and I began our Legislative careers 16 years ago, there was a more professional and collegial atmosphere at the BOL. I think that kind of working atmosphere allowed us to accomplish more and to govern better. We will work hard each day to create a process of consensus building and cooperation between all 17 Legislators."
Legislator Catherine Borgia, (D) Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill was elected Majority Leader by the Democratic caucus for the 2014-2015 term. Following the vote on Monday night, Legislator Borgia said, "Congratulations to the new BOL leadership team. The Democratic caucus looks forward to a productive legislative session as we focus on our shared goals: protecting the health, safety, and welfare of Westchester residents; providing services to our children, families, veterans, and seniors; protecting our wonderful local environment; and working to create new jobs and renewed economic opportunity for Westchester."
It is the Board Chairman's prerogative to assign committee positions for Legislators as well as staff. For the last two year term no committee chairmanships were granted to Republican Legislators. Chairman Kaplowitz has promised that every one of the 17 Legislators will be assigned a committee or a leadership position. Committee appointments will be announced on Thursday, January 9th.