I would like to take this opportunity to commend Norma Drummond, Westchester County commissioner of planning, for doing an outstanding job overseeing the Westchester County Census responses.
Thanks to her hard work, eight communities in Westchester had a response rate of more than 80 percent; 23 had a response rate over 75 percent; and 34 communities had a response rate exceeding 70 percent. In 2000 and in 2010 (the last times the Census was taken) the Westchester response rates were much lower. This year 79 percent of the municipalities exceeded their 2010 response rate and 72 percent exceeded their 2000 responses – which is amazing! My own town of Greenburgh had a response rate of 76.4 percent.
How did Norma and her staff accomplish this? Every day local officials received daily counts (via e-mail updates) comparing our community with others. Her updates inspired local officials to work harder and to come up with creative approaches to persuade residents to respond to the Census. The daily reports highlighted what communities were doing successfully. Norma made the Census into a competition; the daily reports were the first e-mail I looked forward to reading each day.
This is the way government should operate. The county involved everyone in the process and officials were encouraged to do more by positive messaging. Local and county officials shared information, highlighting what worked in their communities.
Norma Drummond deserves the thanks of every taxpayer because the excellent response rate means that the county, school districts and towns, cities and villages in Westchester will receive more dollars from the federal government during the next decade. Grants are based on Census information.
Thank you, Norma Drummond. You are an exceptionally dedicated public official.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor