Full Text of the State of the County Address

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks delivered her 2011 State of the County Address on Monday, May 9 at 7:00 p.m. WXXI-AM 1370 carried the speech live.

This year, Brooks' speech was at The Eastman School of Music's Kilbourn Hall.

WXXI News Director Julie Philipp and 1370 Connection Host Bob Smith anchored coverage of the speech.

The full text of the 2011 State of the County Address is posted below.


Thank you President Seligman, and good evening.
Before I begin, please join me as we do each year in recognizing the brave servicemen and women who are serving our country overseas. This year we pay tribute to a Monroe County hero lost during the last year. Staff Sergeant Javier Ortiz-Rivera gave his life fighting for our freedom.

Please join me in a moment of silence to honor Javier's sacrifice. And please continue to remember his family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

I welcome all of you to the 2011 State of the County Address. This year, we are hosted by the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. Our community is the beneficiary of a recent investment made by the University of Rochester in The Eastman Theater. The beautiful result will give us great returns.
With over 19,000 combined faculty and staff, the U of R is the largest single employer in Monroe County. Each year, the University infuses nearly $100 million into our local economy, providing an incredible boost to our quality of life.
The University of Rochester helps to put us on the map. In a very powerful way, it also helps define who we are as a community.
Did you know that faculty and alumni of the University make up nearly one quarter of the scientists assisting NASA in the development of the James Webb Space Telescope?

Did you know that researchers at the University's world-renowned Medical Center are developing the technology behind two vaccines that may ultimately eliminate cervical cancer? And a third has virtually wiped out the Meningitis infection in the preschool population?

President Joel Seligman – your leadership is exemplary. Your commitment to this community is second to none. Your partnership to the County is invaluable. I thank you.

To Eastman School Dean Douglas Lowry – thank you for your kind hospitality this evening. You, your faculty, and your students all do an incredible job of extending our community's rich legacy of excellence in music education. You may not know this, but my brother, Michael, was a student of this school. Today, the Eastman School of Music has nearly 900 talented students, more than 130 accomplished educators who make up its faculty, and stands as the only major music school in the nation that houses an internationally renowned symphony orchestra year-round.

That orchestra, of course, is the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, a community treasure that we can all be proud of.
Thanks to our most famous philanthropist, George Eastman, this cornerstone institution was founded 80 years ago and embraced a simple mission – "the enrichment of community life."

It was a powerful goal then, and the enrichment of community life remains the most important responsibility of this County government today.

I would like to thank Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn, County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo, and District Attorney Mike Green for their commitment to excellence in government.

Legislature President Jeff Adair, Majority Leader Dan Quatro, Minority Leader Ted O'Brien, and all the members of the Monroe County Legislature – thank you for your service and for the important role you play in the enhancement of County policy. To my critical partners at the town, village, and school district level, thank you for your continued efforts to put taxpayers first.

And finally – I will talk more about him later – but welcome and thank you to our new Mayor, Tom Richards. There is no more important time than now to roll up our sleeves and be partners in progress.

Finally, because I do believe good politics leads to good government, I say thank you to Chairman Tom Cook who is with us tonight, and Chairmen Bill Reilich and Joe Morelle, who are fulfilling their elected duties in Albany this evening.

In 2004, the theme of this address was "One Community, a New Beginning." It set the tone for my new administration. And it established a guiding principle for day-to-day governing. We can accomplish more together than we can alone or in competition.
Who is that "we"? It's government certainly, but also business, education, labor, non-profits, and residents.

We continue to have an unwavering commitment to the goal. And eight years later, the State of our County has evolved from one community with a new beginning to one community with a strong foundation for the future. But the sustained enrichment of our community life means we cannot lose focus on the most critical of priorities – tax stability and support for jobs.

Companies are still challenged, and people are still searching for jobs, or fighting to hold on to the ones they have. And young people continue to look elsewhere for a better shot at a successful future. Our quality of life will only be as good as the quality of the private sector.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson said it best when he called the private sector, "the engine of economic recovery." He said, and I quote, "Business, especially small business, will flourish and provide jobs when government is a productive partner."

Since I took office in 2004, this County has been that productive partner, helping almost 1,000 local companies expand their workforce and grow their local investment. Those companies have created nearly 15,000 local jobs. Those companies have retained nearly 65,000 local jobs.

Combined that represents 80,000 local jobs in Monroe County in the past seven years. That equates to roughly 20 percent of all the jobs in our community today. It means that Monroe County government, as a productive partner through our IDA and other development programs, has played a role in securing one out of every five local jobs in existence today.

Those who criticize the wisdom of our economic development efforts should change their thinking. These are strategic investments that level the playing field for local companies that provide jobs for local residents. These are strategic investments that give us a great return. Since 2004, businesses assisted by Monroe County have injected nearly $3 billion in the local economy.

Carestream Health brought its world-wide headquarters to Rochester when it acquired Eastman Kodak's health group. Fifteen hundred jobs stayed in Monroe County because of that $2 billion purchase.

North American Breweries took over management of the Genesee Brewery. The new team embarked on a multi-million dollar renovation and redevelopment project. The turnaround effort was complex, and involved collaboration between the City and the County. But the $10 million investment saved one of our oldest and most historic companies, while creating nearly 100 jobs
in the past year alone.

In 2006, Monroe County joined with the City and other key stakeholders to put together an aggressive assistance package to keep General Motors in business and hundreds of jobs in our community. Just recently, General Motors announced an incredible $100 million investment in its Lexington Avenue plant to develop a new fuel injection product line. Our investment in this
company, which has been a part of the Rochester landscape for over 72 years, is an investment in the future.

Kevin Hobert, the CEO of Carestream Health, is here tonight, along with Rich Lozyniak, CEO of Genesee Brewing Company and Neal Evans, Plant manager for General Motors. Gentleman – thank you.

It's the perseverance of dedicated companies like these that has historically shielded Monroe County from the extreme economic peaks and valleys that we have seen in other parts of our State and nation. Local accomplishment means local prosperity. There are countless stories of success.

Harris Corporation purchased a new plant and kept 2,000 jobs in the community. Foundations Financial Group came to Rochester this year with plans to create 42 jobs. Advantech Industries created 60 jobs and invested over $4 million. Unity at Ridgeway was a $28 million project that created 54 jobs. Advent Tool and Mold Company is spending $2 million to expand its Ridgeway Avenue
manufacturing facility and will be hiring 28 new people. Whitney Baird Associates is repurposing the historic Armory on Culver Road. The $14 million investment will create jobs and put the dormant facility back on the tax rolls. (I think I see Mayor
Richards smiling.)

LiDestri Foods is investing over $30 million in the Eastman Business Park and moving operations from New Jersey to Rochester.
And, Sutherland Global Services is leasing space at the Rochester Tech Park, spending $2 million on equipment, and creating 375 jobs.

Let's look back to 1980's Monroe County. We were the manufacturing mecca for Western NY with 330,000 jobs. Today, the environment is more competitive, the challenges are tougher, and let's be honest – there are easier and less expensive places to do business outside of New York State. But, today, we have 385,000 jobs in Monroe County in manufacturing, education,
healthcare, optics, high tech, alternative energy, and food and beverage. Our direction is positive. Our momentum is strong. The confidence is returning.

Believe me I am just scratching the surface tonight. But with Monroe County as a productive partner companies will use their entrepreneurial spirit to lead us to economic recovery. I would be remiss if I didn't recognize the dedication and hard work of County Economic Development Director Judy Seil. Because of Judy and her entire team, Monroe County is
definitely open for business. Let's give her a hand.

We have taken a team approach to economic development in our community. At the forefront of our collaborative efforts is Greater Rochester Enterprise. There is a reason that the County remains committed to a strong investment in GRE. Its regional approach to business attraction is producing real results. President and CEO Mark Peterson is here tonight. I would like to publicly thank him for his efforts, which aren't always easy, but will pay dividends for years to come.

We can boast about success, but we cannot put blinders on when it comes to another part of our reality. There are many people in Monroe County who need jobs. Recently, we saw headlines that our local unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent. That is truly good news, but it tells only part of the story. What that number doesn't reflect are those no longer eligible to collect
unemployment, or who have moved to public assistance.

I travel from business to business throughout the year, and I almost always hear two things. Doing business in Monroe County means access to highly skilled workers. I also hear there are jobs available, but vacant, because of a void in training.
Leaders in the manufacturing and trades industries tell us with an aging workforce, many companies are concerned about their ability to remain competitive and successful in the global economy.

They know first-hand that training workers on the job is the most effective way to develop the workforce of the future. But many companies can't afford to put trainees on the payroll while learning.

Local companies need skilled talent to fill jobs. Young people in the community need good paying jobs and a career path. The community challenge is finding a way to bring the two together.

Tonight, I am proud to announce a new program, Monroe On the Job. This is a groundbreaking skilled trades training initiative that will connect our area's young talent with many of the manufacturing and trades jobs currently available.

Right now, companies pay a lot of money to put new employees through qualified certification programs. Monroe On the Job will help offset those costs, by allocating $4,000 to any company that makes its own financial commitment to hiring and training a new worker. Essentially, this is a matching grant program that will extend private resources already being used to train the
workforce of the future.

The program will help companies like Parlec Incorporated. Parlec has been in our community since 1948 and is a successful Fairport tool and die company with a global presence and impact. Parlec and its 100 employees put us on the map for manufacturing excellence, and Parlec is the first company to sign on to Monroe On the Job. CEO Mike Nuccitelli is with us this evening. Thanks, Mike, for your commitment to Monroe County and this new economic development initiative.

Government can be a productive partner to the private sector to create jobs, but government must take the lead on property tax stability. Monroe County's record on taxes is rock solid. Monroe County has held the line on property taxes every year since 2004. In fact our property tax rate is lower than when I took office.

New York State is home to 62 unique and diverse county governments. Of those, only four have been able to hold their property tax rate flat since 2004. Monroe County is one of those four. Of Monroe's five most comparable peer counties – Erie, Nassau, Onondaga, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties – we are the only county that has held the line on its property tax rate the
past seven years.

We have honored our commitment to protect taxpayers by staying true to our commitment to fiscal responsibility and restraint.
Your County government is smaller. We've reduced our workforce by 340 positions in the past five years. Expenses are controlled. We've saved over $380 million in personnel costs since 2004. And our health care costs are lower because workers are paying for a larger share of benefits.

Your County government is smarter. We have used technology to improve efficiency and consolidate functions, and we have created partnerships to leverage the funding needed to pay for critical upgrades to our computer infrastructure and public safety communications.

In 2005, I created a Budget Advisory Committee to recommend ways to cut costs and streamline services. In 2006, we held meetings around the County asking you for ideas on how to do more with less. In 2007, we became one of the first communities in the State to enact a Taxpayer Protection Act, our version of a property tax cap which holds discretionary spending below the
rate of inflation. And for budget year 2008, we blazed the trail by adopting an unconventional Medicaid Swap agreement with the State, a decision that, by the end of this year will have saved local taxpayers nearly $40 million in Medicaid costs. Since 2009, we have essentially frozen the spending we control on a local level, keeping it well below the rate on inflation or holding it flat
each year.

But despite our efforts, local property taxes are too high and threaten our competitiveness, our quality of life, and our future.
Open your tax bill. Monroe County's portion of the bill is only 20 percent. But I bet you don't care if it's the County's portion, or the town's portion, or the school district's portion. I bet you don't care if you are paying for services that are above or below the line. The tax bill is just too high.

I don't even have to tell you that property taxes in New York State are 80 percent above the national average. Or that property taxes in our community, as a percent of home value, are the some of the highest in the nation. Why? Because you feel the pain of high taxes each and every day in your household.

You've heard me say before that there's only one special interest that really matters in Monroe County – the local taxpayer. And your money is best spent in your family budget, versus the government budget. The problem is not what we're doing on the local level. It's what State government is not doing on the Albany level.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and the members of our State Legislative delegation, for an on-time budget that targets the growth of spending in this state without raising taxes. And I stand with our Governor, and our Republican Assembly and Senate members, in support of a property tax cap for New York State. It's a much needed first step toward relief for overtaxed and over-burdened residents.

But we also must take another bold step and reign in the growth and cost of mandates. Counties in New York State are saddled with a system of delivering and funding services that is fundamentally and structurally broken. Here in Monroe County, State and Federal governments control 82 percent of the spending in our $1 billion budget.

That's right. Our ability to control costs is limited to 18 percent of the budget. There are nine mandated programs that are consuming 90 percent of the County property tax levy collected state-wide. Medicaid, welfare, the County jail, youth detention, Pre K-special education, early intervention, probation, pension, and indigent defense. In 2011 Monroe County will collect $349.1 million in property taxes. The nine programs I mentioned do, in fact, consume the equivalent of 90 percent of our local levy.
No one will argue the value that these programs provide many of our residents. The issue is the cost.

Medicaid costs in Monroe County are $161 million this year. The jail is a $64 million cost. The Medical Examiner's office, $2.4 million. Welfare, $26.8 million. Child Welfare, $16.5 million. Youth detention, $4.2 million. Special education, $13.8 million. Early intervention, $5.3 million. Probation, $12.7 million. Pension costs are almost $17 million, and indigent defense amounts to
over $9 million.

Those are all significant burdens for our local tax base that require review and reevaluation. Yet, at $161 million this year, clearly Medicaid remains our greatest challenge. Fortunately, Monroe County has a proven record of reform in the areas of Medicaid fraud, waste, and abuse. In fact, the State Medicaid Inspector General found that Monroe County led the State
in the collection of wrongly claimed Medicaid funds over a five year period, from 2004 to 2009.

That's including New York City. Our team, composed of County DHS specialists and several local auditing firms, has successfully recovered more than$ 4 million. Yet, for all of our success, more work remains to be done.

As President of the New York State Association of County Executives, and as a member of the Governors Mandate Redesign Team, I am committed to working with the Governor and his team on a meaningful reform agenda. I have submitted to the Team, on behalf of Counties, over 200 reform ideas that, if adopted, would save taxpayers billions of dollars.

Now we need decisive action from Albany to take real mandate reform from dream, to reality. Recently, I was proud to stand with partners on the Monroe County Council of Governments to deliver a simple message to Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature: Cap property taxes, but also reform mandates. Then, and only then, will you reduce the tax burden on our residents. It's the ultimate enrichment to community life.

Representatives from our Council of Governments' coalition for mandate reform have joined us tonight. They are: Honeoye Falls Mayor Richard Milne, representing the County's 10 village governments; Monroe County School Boards Association Executive Director Jody Siegle, representing the 21 local school districts that serve Monroe County students; and Webster Town Supervisor Ronald Nesbitt, representing Monroe County's 19 town governments who could not be here tonight. Richard and Jody are here, let's give them a hand.

The Council of Governments represents different constituencies, with different priorities, facing unique challenges. But here's where we all agree. Local leaders are in the best position to make decisions about the needs of our community. Give us the flexibility and control over our tax dollars, and we will save money and improve outcomes. It was Ronald Reagan who said, "There is no limit to what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit."

When money is tight, the pressure is on local communities to consolidate and collaborate. In Monroe County, we lead by example. Monroe County is home to more innovative shared service agreements than any other community in the State.

From our 911 Center, to our Public Safety Training Facility, to our innovative fire mutual aid system model, consolidations in public safety have helped to put Monroe County on the map. Our new Crime Lab is the latest example. Construction of this state of the art lab is complete, and significantly enhances this community's ability to fight and prosecute crime.

The Monroe County Crime Lab also achieved a five-word distinction that we don't hear often for public capital projects: "On time and under budget." The lab was $6 million under budget, in fact.

The building of the new 45,000 square foot facility created almost 400 all-local construction jobs, and set a new standard for green design. The Monroe County Crime Laboratory is the only regional crime lab in New York State, helping law enforcement agencies in Genesee, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties.

Our Crime Lab Administrator Janet Anderson-Seaquist moved here from California to take our crime fighting efforts to a new level. She is here tonight, and deserves our recognition for the outstanding work done by her team.

When it comes to our first responders, interoperability is their own version of collaboration. And for them, effective communication is a life or death proposition. A reliable, efficient, secure, and fully integrated communications capacity is the single most powerful tool we can provide those entrusted with keeping Monroe County residents safe. Thanks to strong support from the Monroe County Legislature, the County is using an innovative model that incorporates the efficiency of the private sector with the accountability demanded of government.

The Monroe Safety and Security Systems Local Development Corporation – or M3S LDC for short – will save taxpayers money, but will simultaneously ensure a dedicated funding stream for critical state-of-the-art upgrades to our local public safety communications system. Public Safety Director Steve Bowman has put much energy and much time into this transformational project. Steve, will you please stand for a moment and be recognized?

Streamlining and sharing services is a guiding principle in local transportation. Our Department of Transportation works closely with area Towns, Villages, and the State to maintain the integrity of road and bridge infrastructure in a cost-effective way.
Recently, Kiplinger Magazine ranked Monroe County No. 1 in the entire Nation for a quick and stress-free commute to work.

You can thank the employees of the Regional Traffic Operations Center, which is a partnership between the County, and State Transportation departments, and the New York State Police. The center monitors and controls traffic flow and signals across our entire community. A recent study was done on the Center's effect during rush-hour traffic. The result: the center helps save local travelers more than 280,000 hours of commute time each year. If pure convenience isn't your top priority, consider this: those 280,000 hours also help to save local drivers 450,000 gallons of gasoline over the same time.

Four hundred fifty thousand gallons, at a rate of $4 per gallon, means that the Regional Traffic Operations Center will help save local drivers nearly $2 million by the end of this year in the cost of gasoline alone. Terry Rice is the Director of Monroe County's transportation operations. Terry was named the 2010 American Public Works Association's Leader of the Year, in recognition of his inspired excellence and dedication in public service. Let's give Terry a hand!

Many of our intergovernmental collaborations save money for taxpayers, but also transform the way we deliver services.
The Monroe County Water Authority and the City of Rochester Water Bureau recently finalized a 24 year extension on a local water sharing agreement. The deal includes mutual facility maintenance provisions that work for both City and County governments, not to mention local ratepayers. It was an historic agreement when first forged, and the extension continues to protect the capacity of our most valuable natural resource – our water.

Mayor Tom Richards has been at the table for many city/county shared service negotiations. His experience and knowledge will prove beneficial as we work together on the significant challenges facing the City and the County. We have one city, but we are one county. Neither can succeed if the other fails. Thank you for being here, and for your partnership, Tom.

Since 2004, thousands of residents have benefitted from the Monroe County Prescription Discount card. Last August, thanks to a partnership with locally-operated ProAct Incorporated, we enhanced our program by giving individuals and families greater access to, and even more savings on, prescription drugs. The program is free and open to all Monroe County residents, regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage. Thanks in large part to ProAct, there is zero cost to taxpayers for the card or the program.

Since August, local pharmacies have filled over 35,000 prescriptions for those who presented the Monroe County Prescription Discount card. The average savings per user is more than 55 pecent, or more than $40 per drug. Monroe County residents have saved more than $1.5 million in the program's first eight months alone!

Those are incredible cost-savings statistics. But the true impact of the program means looking beyond the numbers. It's about people more than about percentages. Tonight, I'd like to tell you a great story about one of those people. Her name is Jennifer
Halloran. Jennifer is a Rochesterian. She's a wife. She spent long days caring for others, working full-time as a registered nurse. But not too long ago her life changed. Jennifer's doctor said the three words most of us pray we will never have to hear – "You have cancer."

Jennifer is a fighter. She received regular chemotherapy treatments, which left her feeling weak, tired, and sick. Eventually her energy and mobility declined to the point where she couldn't work. She was laid off. And a couple of weeks later, her husband was laid off too.

Jennifer, who had worked so hard to care for others, was now left without the prescription drug insurance coverage that would allow her to care for herself. She and her husband tried to pay the cost of her treatment medications on their own, but the price per drug was more than $200. Their money wasn't going to last very long.

When Jennifer asked her CVS Pharmacist for advice, he suggested the Monroe County Discount Card. He signed her up on the spot and within minutes Jennifer was saving precious dollars. That $200 plus prescription drug price-tag? It was down to around $25. Jennifer and her husband saved nearly 90 percent off the original cost.

Unprompted, Jennifer stopped me one day to share her story while we were both working out at the gym. Jennifer is here tonight, and I would like her to stand. Because here is the rest of her story – Ladies and gentleman, Jennifer is a survivor, and is now cancer free!

Jennifer, thank you for being here, and for letting me share your touching story. I'd also like to take this opportunity to recognize the private-sector partner who joined Monroe County to make this program possible.

ProAct, a division of Kinney Drugs, is the locally-operated company that works with pharmacies to achieve these impressive discount savings. President Dave Warner, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing Maggie Cook, and Director of Business Development Mike Maenza are all with us. Let's recognize their commitment to this great endeavor, and our entire community, with a round of applause.

The success of one program has led to creation of another. Dental care is an important key to overall good health. But far too few in our community can afford dental coverage. Tonight I'm proud to announce a brand new initiative. The Monroe County Dental Discount Card will do for our teeth what the Prescription Card has done for our bodies.

For as little as $36 a year, or a dime a day, residents can sign up and have access to vital dental care. And like the prescription discount card, the program has zero cost to the County or local taxpayers.

Here's how it works. Cardholders will receive a list of participating dentists. The dentists have agreed to charge reduced fees for service, including routine dental exams, cleanings, fillings, crowns, root canals, among others. Residents can expect to pay over 30 percent less for service under this program.

This program will be especially helpful for those without a job, or access to dental coverage. Monroe County's job search partner Rochester Works has agreed to distribute Dental Discount Program brochures to clients. Executive Director Peter Pecor is here tonight. Let's give him a hand for the outstanding work his organization does to connect local people with local jobs.

The Monroe County Dental Discount Program is not public insurance, or an entitlement program. It's a program that provides access to the DenteMax Network of dentists, with more than 100,000 offices across the Nation.
More than 200 Monroe County dentists stand ready to provide reduced-cost, quality dental care to local residents and families when they present their Monroe County Dental Discount Card during their visit.

For more information on the Dental Discount Program, or the Prescription Discount Program, please click on the "Healthy Savings" icon on our website at monroecounty.gov, starting tomorrow.

The Monroe County Dental Discount Program is another example of a successful public-private partnership between the County and a local company, Health Economics Group. Let's give a hand to Health Economics Group President Stephen D. Hooper and Director Eric Lintala, who are here tonight.

Eighty years ago, the Eastman School of Music was opened for the enrichment of communitylife, recognizing that arts and culture are a barometer of community success. In 2011, quality of life is often measured in terms of sustainability. And our efforts to "Go Green" are becoming a barometer of community success.

For County government "Going Green" is primarily about saving green. Monroe County has received national recognition for our green energy and conservation efforts, many of which are saving money on a recurring basis. The President recently announced that, by 2015, all vehicles in the federal fleet will be transitioned to alternative fuel models.

In 2008, I launched Monroe County's Green Fleet Program. Our goal was to transition the County's entire fleet to alternative fuel or hybrid electric models by 2012. Tonight, I am proud to say we are ahead of schedule, and on track to achieve a full Green Fleet before the close of 2011. Environmental Services Director Mike Garland, Fleet Manager Melvin Rose, and the entire Fleet
Management Division deserve our appreciation their outstanding work on this project, and many others. Let's give them all a hand.

During my time as County Executive, I have learned that when it comes to going green, there is one stand-out priority for residents. The County has received hundreds – maybe even thousands – of emails, letters, phone calls, and personal pleas advocating for an expansion of our recycling program. Well, your County government is listening. Starting June 1st, Monroe County residents will now be able to recycle plastic products labeled three through seven – in addition to plastics one and two, which we already collect.

Expanded collection will give residents more recycling options. Now you will be able to recycle drinking cups, yogurt containers, take-out containers, and prescription pill bottles, just to name a few. If you are like me, and never sure what is a one and what is a seven, just turn the plastic container upside down. If the bottom is marked with any number between one and seven, and is
surrounded by the "recycle" logo, it is safe to go to the curb.

The challenge of expanding collection is finding a use for the end material that comes after the recycling process. If there isn't a useful purpose for the recycled material, it could simply end up as trash. Cascade Recovery has been our partner in curbside recycling. After working with the County and refuse material consumers, Cascade Recovery is ensuring that all one through seven plastics recycled locally will ultimately be converted into environmentally-friendly end products.

Al Metuaro, President and CEO, and Jeff Meyers, General Manager for U.S. Operations for Cascade Recovery Incorporated are with us tonight. Gentlemen, will you both please stand and be recognized for your help in ensuring a cleaner, greener Monroe County?

When it comes to Monroe County going Green in 2011, however, the expansion of plastics three through seven is just the start.
What if I told you there was one centrally-located, no-cost facility where you and your family could go to be rid of all difficult-to-dispose-of items, such as household hazardous wastes, pharmaceutical wastes, or even cell phones or printer cartridges? And what if that facility required only one full-time employee to operate, and saved taxpayer dollars by centralizing and consolidating functions while promoting efficiency?

That place will soon exist. Tonight, I am proud to announce our plans for Monroe County's new ECOPark, which will be located on Avion Drive in the Town of Chili. The ECOPark will be a one-stop-shop for the disposal of everything not accepted by refuse
haulers. Right now, Monroe County holds specialty drop off events, but residents have to travel to different sites on specific days, whether convenient or not. The Monroe County ECOPark will be one of the first of its kind in New York State. It will be ready for action by year's end.

A project of this magnitude doesn't go from idea to reality without strong partners, and we have many to thank. First and foremost is Jeff Richardson, Senior District Manager for Waste Management of Rochester. Jeff is at the forefront of our many innovative waste solutions in the County.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to a strong partner in local government, Chili Town Supervisor David Dunning. He has been a tireless champion for this project. Supervisor Dunning – thank you, and the entire Town of Chili, for helping to bring the ECOPark to our County.

Monroe County also thanks Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn, and the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, for their role in the collection of controlled pharmaceutical waste at the ECOPark as well. We've talked a lot tonight about the enrichment of community life. And make no mistake about it, Monroe County's focus on quality of life is a team effort. There are 4,500 people who work in your County government and believe, as I do, in the value of public service. They work hard and don't always get the recognition they deserve for making sure our residents get the high level of quality service they deserve.

Monroe County's Director of Public Health, Dr. Andy Doniger, has dedicated his career to making a difference in the health and well-being of our residents. He has been vocal about the need to eradicate lead poisoning. He has been an advocate in the
fight against childhood obesity. Dr. Doniger was at the forefront of local efforts to coordinate the County's response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Dr. Doniger has been an outstanding asset when it comes to keeping our community healthy and

This year, he was recognized for his outstanding contributions by the Monroe County Medical Society. Dr. Doniger was the recipient of the prestigious Edward Mott Moore Award. Dr. Doniger is here with us tonight. Let's congratulate him for this honor and for a job well done.

Let me tell you about the selfless acts of Monroe County Sheriff's Deputy Frank Trinca, Jr. In October of last year, Deputy Trinca was off-duty at his mother's house on Lake Ontario. A phone call brought news of a capsized boat. Thinking on his feet, Deputy Trinca rushed to borrow a neighbor's jet-ski, and made two trips to rescue two boaters from the chilly waters.

As recognition for his heroism, Deputy Trinca was awarded the Captain David P. Dobbins Award by the United States Coast Guard. It is truly an honor to have Deputy Trinca here tonight. Deputy Trinca, your heroism is a shining
example of service above self.

Our entire Monroe County Sheriff's Office, under the leadership of Patrick O'Flynn, has received State-wide recognition for its daily efforts to protect and defend the residents of this community.

The department actually swept the awards presented by the State Sheriff's Association in 2010. Deputy Jonathan W. Strong was named Deputy of the Year, Deputy Philip Gombatto was Civil Deputy of the Year, Sargeant Terry Hayes was named the Correction Officer of the Year, and Edward Ignarri was named Coordinator of the Year. These men deserve our admiration and respect for all that they do. Let's thank them for their service.

Did you know that our Sheriff's Office is the only in New York that is both state and nationally accredited? Another outstanding accomplishment.

Bob Burns has been Monroe County's Probation Director since 1991. The Rochester Police Rosewood Club recently honored Bob with the Carl S Hallauer Award, its highest honor. Bob was recognized for his efforts to further coordination, cooperation, and communication between the Probation Department and the Rochester Police Department.

In the past year, County Probation officers conducted over 130 spot raids, keeping nine handguns, 30 long guns, and over
1,300 rounds of ammunition out of the hands of parolees and off the streets. Bob you and your department work very hard under tough circumstances. Thank you.

Cindy Lewis is our Director of Children and Family Services. Throughout her career, Cindy has been an innovator and a strong voice for children and families in our community. She has seen the best and the worst of our society, but never loses her passion for changing and improving lives. Cindy played a lead role in development of our new Pediatrics and Visitation Center.
Cindy has been named Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers. Cindy stands as yet another example of a Monroe County public servant working to enrich our community and its quality of life. Cindy – this is a well-deserved honor. Congratulations.

The progress we've made in our County is the result of our greatest strength – our people. People enrich Monroe County more than anything else. They are strong in spirit and generous in deed. They energize us and inspire us.
Let me tell you about the sacrifice and resiliency of Brighton's own Terry Heise.

Terry is a 2004 graduate of Penfield High School, and he enlisted in the Army in December of 2009. Terry already had an education and a job, but was compelled into service by the opportunity to stand side by side with the men and women fighting for our freedom in Afghanistan.

Private First Class Heise had been deployed for 19 days when he was seriously injured by a roadside bomb, breaking both of his legs, shattering both of his ankles, and fracturing his back. Now fighting – and winning – a second battle to rehabilitate his body, Terry was presented a Purple Heart Award in recognition of his service.

Terry was unable to join us this evening, with good reason – he is continuing his rehabilitation at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. His father, Terry Heise Senior, and his sister, Megan Sperber are here. Terry and Megan – Your
son, and your brother, is a true hero and an inspiration to us all. On behalf of a grateful community, please pass along our appreciation and sincere best wishes. Let's take this opportunity to give Terry and his family a round of applause.

Let me tell you about the patience and grace of Gerald Wolters. Gerald is a Chili resident and served our Country as a Corporal in the United States Army during the Korean War. He was seriously injured and captured on December 1, 1950, and held prisoner for the next two and a half years. Upon returning home, Gerald lacked proper documentation to prove his combat injuries. That missing paperwork prevented him from receiving the Purple Heart Award he so rightly deserved.

Gerald's family was persistent and patient in their attempts to correct the injustice and ultimately honor his service in Korea. Several weeks ago, those efforts paid off. More than 60 years after he was injured, Gerald was awarded the Purple Heart he earned. Gerald was unable to be here tonight, but please join me in recognizing and thanking Gerald Wolters for his heroic service to our Nation.

We are one community with a strong foundation for the future. We are first in the nation for easy commuting, one of the top 20 areas for economic recovery, America's 10th smartest city, we have the 15th strongest job market in America, we are the 16th best place to start over, the 14th most innovative city in the U.S., and the third best place in the Country to raise a family.

More visitors came to Monroe County in 2010 than ever before. For many of them, our community's first chance to make a first impression came at the Greater Rochester International Airport. More than 2.5 million people passed through our Airport last year. Our airport attracts visitors and brings investment and opportunity to the area. The Greater Rochester International Airport is responsible for creating and sustaining over 8,000 jobs, generating $200 million in income, and infusing nearly $500 million into our local economy each and every year.

In the past three years alone, the airport was named the 14th most affordable airport in the country, was ranked third in the nation for largest average fare decrease since 1996, and was awarded multiple Balchen-Post awards for outstanding snow and ice control.

This summer the Airport will again play host to the U.S. Navy's famed precision flying team, the Blue Angels, at the 2011 ESL International Airshow. I hope you will join thousands of others the weekend of July 16th and 17th for one of my favorite summer events. Susan Walsh is Monroe County's new Director of Aviation for the Airport. Susan is to be commended for outstanding work in her first few months on the job. She is here with us tonight, let's give her a hand.

Ladies and Gentleman, I have been your County Executive for almost eight years. It has been an incredible honor to serve. I was born and raised in Rochester, and there's no place I would rather call home.

In 1977, I began my public career in Monroe County, and never imagined a broadcasting journey would lead me to the County Legislature, the County Clerk's Office, and then to the role of County Executive. I am incredibly proud to follow in the footsteps of great leaders like Lucien Morin, Tom Frey, Bob King and Jack Doyle.

It's a big job and it's important work. I have a unique opportunity to help shape our community and its future. It's a humbling responsibility that requires vision, leadership, courage, and compromise. You have witnessed my strong work ethic. You know my character and my values.

I'm a community cheerleader who has trumpeted our successes. But I'm also a CEO who has managed the good, the bad, and the ugly in a large government organization. I will stand tall and recognize those people who make me proud. I will never hesitate to take quick and decisive action when people disappoint me.

My top priorities have always been jobs and taxes. But enriching community life also means holding County government to the absolute highest standards for ethics and accountability. Monroe County has implemented a number of oversight measures designed to promote the highest level of accountability in every function of County government.

Our Independent Accountability Office isn't just another department in County government. Two people with impressive professional qualifications work as the County's Independent Counsel.

Don Chesworth is a former State Police Superintendent, Monroe County District Attorney, and Special Agent with the FBI. Eugene Welch has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and Assistant-Attorney-General-in-Charge in the Rochester Regional Office. Together, they form a bi-partisan, non-political team with impeccable credentials.

Our Independent Accountability Counsel helps identify and manage ethics issues. They also manage and screen our confidential Whistleblower Hotline.

Recently, Monroe County became the first government in the nation to require on-line ethics training for all employees. We are part of an innovative pilot for Kaplan EduNeering's Strategies for Government Integrity, and the training was provided at no cost to taxpayers.

Unfortunately, however, we can't always predict bad human behavior, or prevent bad choices. But you can be confident that your County government is taking proactive measures to educate our workforce on ethics, and instill a culture of compliance to avoid violations of your trust.

Let me close tonight by telling you about my grandmother.

She was a strong woman, a local women's rights activist, a founder of the Dutch Reformed Church of Rochester, a long-time member of the Rochester Poetry Society, and, for many years, the Vice President of the Western New York Women's Temperance League.

In 1948, my grandmother portrayed Susan B. Anthony, as the Rochester Federation of Women's Clubs celebrated the 128th anniversary of her birth. Susan B. Anthony called Rochester home, and she taught us that failure is impossible.
Tonight, I leave you with a call to action.

We are one community with a strong foundation for the future. But that future is dependent upon our ability to work together, today, to address the issues that affect all of Monroe County. Whether the issue is creating good-paying local jobs, providing stable property taxes, protecting our environment, or enhancing our already first-class quality of life, we must all – County, City,
Towns, Villages, Schools, the private sector, and individual citizens – take on these challenges
side by side.

Because only together can we follow in the footsteps of George Eastman, and make the enrichment of community life our shared purpose. And only together can we prove to generations to come that failure is not an option.

Thank you and God Bless.