Westchester v. Erie: County Executive Envy

During these times that try people’s souls, Westchester County residents are experiencing County Executive envy.  Particularly when Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz is answering the very question we’ve #TriedtoAskAstorino: How will the Donald Trump budget affect Westchester?

This is a fair and reasonable question. Yet Rob Astorino skirts around it at every Ask Astorino event.  Why won’t he give us a direct answer?

Westchester needs to know what the impacts of the proposed Trump Budget will be on our county services. This “skinny” budget cuts $54 billion to non-defense programs while increasing military expenditures to $54 billion. These proposed billions in cuts to  domestic services such as transportation, public health, the environment, and more potentially have a devastating effect on Westchester County. Astorino’s constituents have a right to know what’s in store for us, our families, and our communities.

Why hasn’t County Executive Rob Astorino made it a priority to require every County Department head to analyze how their operations would be affected? The results then published to the Board of Legislators, the press, and – of course – the public.  Then we can all be prepared should the Trump Budget be rubber stamped by Congress.

We’re not holding out breath for this kind of transparency. It seems we can’t get Rob Astorino to try something different – even when his constituents request it. So perhaps the answer to our problem is held within the envy we have of other County Executives. We can look to leaders like Erie’s County Executive Poloncarz’s statements here to prepare for “The Trump Plan”.

Who wouldn’t want to be in a constituent relationship with a transparent, clear-thinking, County Executive like Poloncarz? When you compare this statement with the kind of verbal tap dancing we see at Ask Astorino events, you feel a bit empty.

“The budget blueprint revealed last week is a mockery of what a responsible budget should be and shows a cold-hearted callousness and disregard for our most vulnerable citizens on the part of the White House.”

Yes, we settled.  And it kind of hurts a little, doesn’t it, when you look north to Erie and see what might have been. It’s natural to engage in a bit of County Executive envy. But we must face that empty feeling first as denial is an unavoidable process in the 5 stages of grief. One from which we must all wake up.

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