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Highlights of the March 5, 2024 meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature

Monalita Smiley, Project Director of the Community Justice Center (CJC), provided an update to the Legislature on the work of the CJC to implement plans under the Reimagining Public Safety initiative. Smiley’s presentation detailed milestones under each plan as well as next steps in the CJC’s 2024 work plan.

Several Legislators who attended a recent New York State Association of Counties Legislative Conference shared insights and reported on the discussions that took place. County Administrator Lisa Holmes shared an update on the HELP (Hiring for Emergency Limited Placement) Program offered by the New York State Civil Service Local Government Division that has been extended to Counties, stating that it allows for more flexibility within the Civil Service hiring process, though details had yet to be shared with counties.

As part of an initiative to receive reports on local agencies and organizations that receive funding and support from Tompkins County, Legislator Randy Brown (R-Newfield) gave a report on Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). Brown serves as a liaison to the agency from the Legislature. CCE has a budget of $9.6 million, with Tompkins County contributing $974,000 through its budget and another $960,000 through contracts for services and programs. Brown reported that CCE is “strong at their core,” adding that many discussions are being had at the board level and throughout the organization around how best to communicate all of the things that CCE is doing throughout the County. CCE offers family, 4H, environment, and nutrition and health programming. More information can be found online at:

The Legislature approved a resolution (13-1, Legislator Mike Sigler (R-Lansing) opposed) to authorize a mural to be installed on the Human Services Annex highlighting community resilience throughout the pandemic while illustrating the continued need for preventive measures such as COVID-19 vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended use of the arts and community engagement as evidence-based strategies for enhancing public health messaging, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tompkins County Whole Health will document the installation of the mural and use the art in its communications efforts regarding public health efforts.