State of the County Address Reaction
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While almost everyone who sat in on Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks' State of the County address applauded her for giving a good "positive" speech. Democrats in the Monroe County Legislature say a more sober evaluation of the challenges facing Monroe County would have been more appropriate.
Legislative Minority Leader Ted O’Brien says Brooks' speech was short on specifics. He says while Brooks is a good cheerleader for the county her address made no mention of the net loss in county assets over the last ten years.
"We've sold parking garages, we've sold power plants, we've sold real-estate. So what are we going to do when we run out of things to sell," said O’Brien.
Not every Democrat in the room was quite as critical. Rochester Mayor Tom Richards said when it came to issues like mandate relief and pension reform the county executive was speaking his language.
"The principle of mandates that are imposed on us without any revenue to match it, yeah it's common," said Richards. "And I think our community is doing well. You know we've got problems, things we've got to deal with but I think it's fair to say the community is doing well."
Republicans say if Democrats were looking for negative assessment of the county they came to the wrong place.
"It's a State of the County Address. Not a laundry list of things to do over the next three to five years. It's really the state of the county today and really a report card on really what's been happening in our community over the past year and I think in that regard she did a fantastic job," said Anthony Daniele, (R) Monroe County Legislator.
O'Brien said a good speech won't change fiscal realities. He said the successes of Brooks administration need to be put in perspective.
"I think during her tenure there have been a series of difficulties, we've had scandals. As a minority member of the Monroe County Legislature we can continue to fight for transparency in county government. And hold the government accountable when those kinds of problems arise," said O'Brien.
Brooks spent of lot of time highlighting gains in job growth. O’Brien says she did that without acknowledging investments by state and federal representatives in the county's largest employers.