By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO December 10, 2002 Most of new Legislator Don Trottas first official day on the job was spent just learning the ropes.
His first full day as a District 4 Legislator (representing most of the Town of Mamakating) took place on Thursday, December 5. For this month, Trotta will be on the same committees predecessor Jonathan Rouis served on: Executive, Health and Family Services, Financial Management, General Services (Vice-Chair), Public Safety (Chair), and Veterans.
Legislature Chair Leni Binder stated that, in January, committees would be shuffled and, most likely, Trotta would be named Health and Family Services Chair, due to his extensive background in the field.
Thursday started for Trotta with the Planning and Community Development meeting. While he mostly sat and listened, Trotta was asked about a multi-state department store chain called Peebles, which is considering a move into the area, perhaps at the old Liberty Ames building. Trotta, who was familiar with the chain, stated it was nice . . . but said some of them had gone out of business.
Next up was the Financial Management Committee Meeting. Committee Chair and fellow Mamakating resident Kathleen LaBuda introduced and welcomed Trotta. Trotta stood with Republican Majority Leader Rodney Gaebel in an attempt to get a 3/4 percent increase in the sales tax. While their resolution was defeated, it would come up again later.
Both the Consumer Affairs/ Information Technologies and the Department of Public Works meetings went smoothly, but Trottas first real test came as he chaired the Public Safety Committee meeting. Binder introduced him before the meeting started.
Trotta deferred to his department heads for reports: Public Safety Commissioner Genevieve Dainack, 911 Coordinator David Kimmel, Fire Coordinator/Emergency Management Director Richard Martinkovic, EMS Coordinator Donald Hopkins, and EMS Advisory Board Chair Albee Bockman.
Trotta asked questions about policy and procedure throughout the reports to get a better understanding of what each did and asked to be present at some of the meetings to more familiarize himself with the department.
I want to participate in a meeting with the coordinators to educate myself, Trotta told the committee. I intend to give as much assistance as possible.
Trotta ran an orderly meeting and moved things along as other meetings were scheduled. Still on the docket were a special General Services meeting to discuss redistricting and a special legislative meeting to set the public hearings on redistricting and to discuss the sales tax issue.
After the day was done, Trotta reflected on the day.
I loved it, Trotta said. It was super. I love to be a part of the whole governmental process. It is good to work with people in the best interest of Sullivan County.
Trotta especially enjoyed the discussion and vote on the sales tax issue.
I liked the division [of party lines] in the vote, stated Trotta. It shows that we decide for ourselves and do what we feel is best for our constituents.