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Ulster Legislature Chair Reconfigures Structure of Some Committees

KINGSTON, N.Y — The Ulster County Legislature’s committee structure is getting a bit of a makeover under Ulster County Legislature Chairwoman Tracey Bartels, who announced her appointments to the newly configured legislative committees.

In a press release announcing the appointments, Bartels said the newly configured committees will focus on expanding economic development opportunities, addressing mental health needs and issues of addiction, expanding access to affordable housing, improving infrastructure and enhanced emergency services, and providing long-term solutions to the county’s solid waste management.

Bartels, a non-registered voter who aligns with Democrats, was unanimously elected chairwoman of the Legislature at the body’s organizational meeting earlier this month.

Among the most significant changes Bartels made was the elimination of the Legislative Programs, Education and Community Services Committee. That committee was responsible for the oversight of SUNY Ulster, the Ulster County Office For the Aging, Youth Bureau, Veterans Affairs, the arts, libraries, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Ulster County Community Action Agency and the county historian. Oversight of those agencies and departments were shifted to other committees.

Additionally, Bartels reconfigured the Legislature’s former Economic Development, Tourism, Housing, Planning & Transit Committee, removing housing and transportation from that committee’s jurisdiction, renaming it the Economic Development, Planning, Education, Employment, Arts and Agriculture Committee and adding to its responsibilities education, employment, arts and agriculture.

That committee will be led by Legislator Brian Cahill, D-Ulster. Cahill was chairman of the committee under its previous incarnation as well. Likewise, Legislator Herbert Litts, R-Highland, will serve as deputy chairman of the newly configured committee.

Also appointed to the committee were: Thomas Corcoran, R-Marlborough; Peter Criswell, D-Kingston; Chris Hewitt, D-Kerhonkson; Joseph Maloney, D-Saugerties and Megan Sperry, D-Esopus.

Bartels also created the American Rescue Plan Act Special Committee and charged it with reviewing all proposals for spending the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funds before forwarding those proposals to the standing committee of jurisdiction.

Criswell will be chairman of the special committee and Corcoran will be deputy chairman. Also serving on that committee will be Aaron Levine, D-Saugerties, Craig Lopez, R-Pine Bush, and Sperry.

Other committee appointments are:

• Energy, Environment and Sustainability (formerly the Energy and Environment Committee): Manna Jo Greene, D-Rosendale, chairwoman; Gina Hansut, R-Lloyd, deputy chairwoman;  and Eric Stewart, D-Marbletown; Philip Erner, D-Kingston, and Maloney.

• Health, Human Services and Housing (formerly Public Health and Social Services): Eve Walter, D-New Paltz, chairwoman;  Lopez, deputy chairman; and  Kathy Nolan, D-Shandaken; Laura Petit, D-Port Ewen; Abe Uchitelle, D-Kingston; Corcoran; and Erner.

• Law Enforcement and Public Safety: Uchitelle, chairman; Hansut, deputy chairman; and Jonathan Heppner, D-Woodstock; Hewitt and Lopez.

• Laws, Rules, and Government Services (formerly Laws and Rules): Heppner, chairman; Kevin Roberts, R-Plattekill, deputy chairman; and John Gavaris, D-Ellenville; Minority Leader Ken Ronk, R-Wallkill; and Levine.

• Public Works, Capital Projects and Transportation (formerly Public Works and Capital Projects): Petit, chairwoman; Dean Fabiano, R-Saugerties, deputy chairman; and Litts, Nolan and Stewart.

• Ways and Means: Gavaris, chairman; Ronk, deputy chairman; and Cahill, Fabiano, and Walter.

Bartels also named Walter deputy chairwoman of the county Legislature.

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