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Feb. 26, 2018 -- On his first day in office, County Executive George Latimer signed an Executive Order creating the "Good Neighbor” policy between the County and the 45 cities, towns and villages throughout Westchester. Pledging to visit every last one of the Village Boards, Town Boards and City Councils to explain the program and answer questions. Latimer said this is about respect and being a good neighbor visiting the municipalities instead of the other way around - a first by any County Executive.

Latimer said this is about creating an open, approachable County government: “This County belongs to each and every one of us.  For too long decisions were made at the whim of the person in power with little regard for the impact on those directly touched by a decision. My goal is to deliver services and information to each community impacted by the County’s actions. This is all part of my pledge to give Westchester County government back to the people.  We need to all work together to make Westchester the best it can be.”

Under the “Good Neighbor” policy, the County would be required to make a formal presentation of any significant proposed action on county land at a regularly scheduled, televised meeting of the local governing body (City Council, Town Board or Village Board). The locality would have 60 days before the action would be implemented, to allow for a local public forum to gather public input from residents. Then the locality would submit a memo of support, neutrality, or opposition to the action before the County acts.

 Since he first took office, Latimer has been driving to various corners of the County.  Two months into his term, the County Executive has presented to 18 boards: Village Boards of Elmsford, Port Chester, Mamaroneck, Bronxville, Port Chester, Hastings-on-Hudson, Larchmont, Ossining and Rye Brook; towns of Bedford, New Castle, Rye, North Castle, Lewisboro, Mamaroneck and Pound Ridge; and cities of Rye, Mt. Vernon and Peekskill.  That makes 18 out of 45 local municipal boards – over 1/3 of them all – and he is just getting started.

All of the visits are chronicled on his Facebook page.  On the stops he is also typically joined by members of his senior staff who live in the municipality he is visiting. 

As Latimer said on his most recent Facebook post about the policy: “This is not just good PR. We must re-set the relationship between County and local government if we are to have a serious, robust effort on shared services. There must be trust between the two... and as Ringo Starr sang, ‘It Don't Come Easy.’ Years of mistrust cannot be wiped away in one visit.”

As his countywide tour continues, County Executive Latimer will continue to receive input from municipalities he has already visited. The visits are intended to be part of an open dialogue between the County Executive and the people of the County.  Stay tuned for news about the next stops on the County Executive’s “Good Neighbor” tour.