OSSINING, NY — August 24, 2020 — Police Reform and Reinvention. Last week the Village Board voted to engage IACP to facilitate our response to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 203 calling on municipalities to review law enforcement policies, engage the public, and adopt a plan forward. Click here to read the Request for Proposals we put out last month. Click here to learn more about IACP. The gentleman in the center square of this zoom room is Dr. Jessie Lee who will be leading the public engagement team. Dr. Lee and his team will begin their work by reviewing our current law enforcement policies. We are confident that IACP’s depth of knowledge about law enforcement, and dedication to working with communities to advance thoughtful progressive police leadership, will produce a plan worthy of our department and our community. Engagement with local residents and stakeholder organizations will be scheduled in the coming weeks. The village has put together this page on our website for all resources related to this effort. It will be updated when we have dates to share for public outreach.
Wednesday’s meeting also included a discussion about a Memorandum of Understanding related to how the 100% renewable energy will be purchased as part of our participation with Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). The CCA has been very successful in leveraging the bulk purchase power of Westchester Power communities to source renewable energy for residents and small businesses. The sudden drop in energy usage during COVID, and unpredictable future of energy pricing, prompted consideration of a new approach for Westchester Power to purchase energy for the next contract. Click here for Wednesday’s agenda and video link.
I’m taking some time off with my family so there will be no Open Office Hours this week.
To reach out by email:
- Mayor Victoria Gearity (email@example.com);
- Board of Trustees (firstname.lastname@example.org); or
- Village Manager Karen D’Attore (email@example.com).
Summer Vacation & Protest vs Event
There is no Village Board meeting this week. Each summer we strive to take off a week, often the fourth Wednesday of the month. When we return on September 2, our plan is to meet at the Community Center. Social distancing measures will be in place as we embark on a hybrid approach to maximize opportunities for public engagement. We are working to preserve the public’s ability to view and comment virtually as well.
This past weekend included a program at the waterfront that clearly crossed the line from “protest” to “event”. This particular program was in a Town park, making it beyond the purview of Village government. But it is true that all municipalities find ourselves in an unusual position. We cannot issue permits for any program that might attract greater than 50 people because that would violate NYS COVID rules. We also cannot obstruct people from protesting because that would violate their Constitutionally protected right of free speech.
Thank you to the Westchester County Department of Health for assisting the Ossining Police Department in determining Saturday’s waterfront program crossed the line to “event” and managing a challenging situation. Our code reflects a pre-COVID world. Like everything else in 2020, the Village and our friends in the Town, are constantly evaluating our approach to reflect the changing guidelines from Albany.
/s/ Victoria Gearity
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