September 10, 2019 – GOP Minority Leader Tom Cilmi today declared victory in what he called a ten year battle to open Suffolk’s budget process up to the public.
Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory has scheduled two meetings of the 2020 Operating Budget Working Group at the William H. Rogers Legislature Building in Hauppauge. The bi-partisan operating budget meetings on October 17 and 21 meetings, will be held from 10 am to 1 pm on both days, and will allow the public the opportunity to hear the Working Group’s discussion surrounding the County Executive’s proposed budget as well as recommendations for changes.
Cilmi said, “From the time I joined the Legislature, I have been fighting to make our budget processes more transparent. When I first was elected, committees tasked with amending the capital, college and operating budget met in private to discuss amendments. I refused to take part in a process that was anything less than fully transparent,” said Legislator Cilmi. “I fought to make the meetings public and found an independent ear in Presiding Officer Gregory who subsequently made the capital and college Working Group meetings public. “
“Now, thanks to my leadership and Presiding Officer Gregory’s commitment to putting the institution of the Legislature above partisanship,” Cilmi said, “I am excited to say that this year’s Operating Budget Working Group will also meet in full public view. I thank Presiding Officer Gregory for his willingness to embrace full transparency. “
Presiding Officer Gregory said, “Over time, the County’s Capital Budget and the Suffolk County Community College Budget have been brought into the public forum. Opening the process to the public on the Operating Budget is vital to transparency in government. I am pleased that this is a bi-partisan effort to encourage public discussion and I welcome the opportunity to work with all members of the Working Group to find mutual ground on which the budget can be adopted.”
Cilmi said he looks forward to participating in this year’s Working Group. He said, “After ten years of banging my head against the wall, the wall has broken and sunlight will shine in. Perseverance pays off.”