I’ve heard people say, “I don’t use government services.”
Not true! Rockland County government workers protect your children from online predators and bring evil-doers to justice. They inspect food establishments so you don’t get food-borne illnesses. They work with older people to teach ways to prevent falls that can lead to a helpless life rather than an active, independent one. They work to ensure that veterans get the benefits to which they are entitled. They ensure fair elections, give civil service tests, maintain county property and beautiful parks.
During these recessionary years, many families have needed help for the first time in their lives. The Department of Social Services has provided sensitive and swift assistance.
Our nurses, health educators, technicians go into the community, the schools, the senior centers, the wetlands to prevent mosquito-borne illness, sexually-transmitted diseases, polluted water, the deadly consequences of tobacco, and epidemics of childhood obesity leading to diabetes, the 7th leading cause of death in the nation.
The District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit supports victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, sex crimes, and crimes against children as they move through the complicated legal system. Providing public safety, the Sheriff coordinates the Narcotics Task Force which includes local police departments, the State Police and the FBI, as well as keeping criminals under lock and key in the jail.
The impact of Superstorm Sandy on the County was devastating. But the preparations made by Fire & Emergency Services and their swift coordinated actions with police, fire services and the County Highway Department spared our residents even greater hardship and loss.
The Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program saves the county hundreds of thousands of dollars in the costs of care for babies who might otherwise have been born with significant medical issues. And our Youth Bureau focuses on teen-age development including AmeriCorps programs and provides shelter and counseling for runaway and homeless youth, many of whom have suffered abuse. These are not functions being done by other levels of government, and the county often contracts with Rockland’s excellent not-for-profit agencies which can provide specialized services at a lower cost.
There is a reason why these and so many others are called servants, public servants. Our county employees work long hours with little recognition. They keep our residents safe in time of greatest need and support them year-round. In my estimation, that makes them heroes.
Harriet Cornell is Chairwoman of the Rockland County Legislature. She represents Legislative District 10 which encompasses the Villages of Nyack, Upper Nyack, Central Nyack and parts of West Nyack and New City.