Ossining Village Board Focuses On Efficiency

To the editor:

Village of Ossining
Village of Ossining Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This is a year focused on establishing greater efficiency. How can village government provide excellent services to the community while making the most of your tax dollars?

In September we welcomed Trustee Rika Levin to the Board. That appointment was made following a call for resumes and interviewing the nine candidates who stepped forward. With the unexpected resignation of now former Trustee Daraio, we have a vacancy on the Board.

The BOT has decided not to appoint anyone to fill that seat at this time. We will allow the election to unfold.

Abe Zambrano becoming Village Manager this spring marked another significant change of leadership of village government. The overarching goal of this Board is to make village government function efficiently and serve the public well.

We articulated our goals to Zambrano when we hired him, and he is moving forward with implementing plans for two departments where he sees the greatest opportunities for improved efficiency through restructuring. After opening the Oct.14 work session with remarks on these subjects, the agenda included discussion of a proposal for a branding campaign with the tagline Ossining: Where Culture Lives.

The highlight of the rest of the meeting, which gets into municipal government minutiae, is that Albany has approved our Government Efficiency Plan to save money through shared services with the Town, so Ossining taxpayers will get their "rebate" from the state.

Abe has hired a new Confidential Assistant to the Manager who will bring the skills needed for the village management office of today. That individual is expected to begin in a matter of weeks. We want to be a community where residents know that when they walk into the village building department, they can look forward to receiving the help they need as they navigate the requirements for a permit, a certificate of occupancy, or any concern about their property.

A specific goal in this regard is streamlining the process of working with the village, including digitizing forms and improving access to public information. The other priority that must be addressed is code enforcement.

Manager Zambrano's approach for how to improve the effectiveness of the Building Department took a different path when Village Planner Valerie Monastra left to take a position in the private sector. Her departure prompted a need for considering how best to accomplish the work of the planner. Zambrano is interviewing candidates to step into the position in a new way.

He will bring in someone with a fresh approach--someone who has the experience and skills to lead the work of a combined planning and building department. We look forward to the improved efficiency and service that will be provided to village residents with these changes. 

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