Westchester County Highlights the Work of Diane Atkins

Across her long and accomplished career with Westchester County, Diane Atkins has risen to the top – both literally and figuratively.

You may also go to YouTube to watch the short video on Atkins.

Her ninth floor office in the Michaelian Office Building is just steps from the County Executive’s and offers a sweeping view of downtown White Plains. From her first job as a typist to her current post as a member of County Executive George Latimer’s management team, her climb has been fueled by her tremendous work ethic and her passion for helping others.

“We’re in the building where I started as a Grade 3 typist. I would type notes from social workers and take dictation,” she recalled.

She had no idea where that first job would lead her.

Assigned as a clerical worker at the Department of Social Services, she constantly challenged herself to do more, learn more, achieve more and make more of a difference in lives of the people served by DSS. She became a case worker and also spent time in every division at DSS, including Child Protective Services, Employment, Housing and Adoption.

Along the way, she earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, received multiple promotions, mentored staff members and made history as the first African-American to be appointed as First Deputy Commissioner of the County’s largest agency.

“There was a great sense of satisfaction in each one of those jobs, and it just made me better for the next job. It made me really energetic to really rise up in this agency.”

Atkins noted that Latimer is committed to diversity throughout the County government, from the ranks of commissioners and senior executives to jobs for people just beginning their careers. She works closely with the County Executive to recruit and encourage people of color to consider careers with Westchester County.

Atkins had “retired” from the County in 2010 after 41 years of service but went right to work for the City of Mount Vernon and then for State Sen. Andrea Stewart Cousins. When Latimer was elected County Executive, he asked her to come back.

She serves as Director of Human Services and oversees DSS, the Dept. of Senior Programs & Services, the Youth Board and Veterans Affairs. When asked if she has any intention of slowing down anytime soon, she smiles and says simply: “I still have more to do.”

If you’re interested in joining the team at the County, check out our Civil Service Exams.