State of the County Presentation Canceled; Putnam Legislature Will Still Meet

In a scaled-down version of the originally scheduled State of the County address, Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell will distribute written materials that satisfy requirements outlined in section 7.09 of the Putnam County Charter during tonight’s special meeting of the County Legislature at 7 p.m. at Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster. However, she will not be delivering the full presentation, as originally planned.

“This is being done out of an abundance of caution as we remain vigilant about the Coronavirus,” stated the Odell’s office in a press release issued Thursday afternoon. “The county executive continues to oversee the county’s response to the virus and the Department of Health has instituted daily internal Coronavirus briefings with key partner agencies and organizations to keep all necessary groups informed on the latest information.”

The meeting remains open to the public, and lawmakers urge residents who plan on attending to adhere to Centers for Disease Control guidance regarding large public gatherings.

However, Commissioner of Health Dr. Michael Nesheiwat recommends that the public avoid any large gatherings.

The full State of the County presentation will be rescheduled at a later date.

This announcement was made shortly after Legislator Nancy Montgomery, D-Philipstown, issued a public statement asking Legislature Chairwoman Toni Addonizio, R-Kent, and Odell to postpone the State of the County address in light of the Coronavirus frenzy.

“Practical measures that help contain the spread of the Coronavirus are called for,” said Montgomery. “Large gatherings are being curtailed across the nation – including here in metro-New York – and ‘social distancing’ is recommended to limit exposure in social and group settings. Recommendations are consistent across agencies: the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and the New York State Health Department.”

One of the major concerns Montgomery pointed out is that the audience for the State of the County address is typically made up of elected officials and county employees – “people who make critical leadership decisions and provide essential public services.”

“Throughout the epidemic, we need a county government that is functioning as effectively and efficiently as possible,” she said. “We cannot risk large-scale exposure of critical staff who are needed to see the public through this health emergency.”

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