YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – Matt Slater, candidate for Yorktown Supervisor, continues to gain unprecedented support from statewide organizations as the New York State Troopers PBA formally announced their endorsement of his campaign. The organization represents more than 6,000 active and retired uniformed members and cited Slater’s experience holding high level staff positions in the New York State Legislature.
“Having spent the last four years as Chief of Staff to former State Senator Terrence Murphy, Matt Slater has focused on legislation benefiting Yorktown residents, securing state funding and leading local relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters,” PBA President Thomas Mungeer said. “Matt Slater has shown great support for law enforcement and public safety, and the general well-being of the citizens of Yorktown.”
Slater was a driving force behind the “Fill A Truck for Texas” campaign following Hurricane Harvey. The truck, donated by Tiso & Associates, Inc. Trucking, was filled with 50,000 pounds of donated items in the parking lot of the Yorktown Triangle Shopping Center.
“I am proud to stand with the New York State Troopers and all law enforcement officers,” Slater said. “We are living in dangerous times and the brave men and women like the New York State Troopers are working tirelessly to keep us safe. To have their support is an incredible honor.”
Slater has already been endorsed by prominent organizations including the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body and New York League of Conservation Voters.
Click here to read the endorsement letter.
YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – Changing direction from the 2017 election cycle the Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO has endorsed Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater for this November’s election. Slater worked on a number of initiatives during his time working for the New York State Senate from paid famiy leave, to imporving working conditions at local hospitals, to protecting the more than 1,000 workers at the Indian Point Nuclear Powerplant.
“Having the support of the Westchester-Putnam Central Labor Body is a great honor,” Slater said. “This endorsement is a testament of my willingness and ability to work with anyone with a common goal of improving the quality of life for others.”The WPCLB represents more than 200 unions and their affiliates. There are more than 8,500 AFL-CIO members in Yorktown. Slater is a member of CSEA Local 9200.
WPCLB President Tom Carey said, “We are happy to announce our endorsement of Matt Slater for Yorktown Supervisor. Matt has been a great friend to labor! Matt’s ability to work on local and state issues will be an asset to us all and the Westchester/Putnam Central Labor Body AFL-CIO endorses his candidacy wholeheartedly.”
WPCLB Vice President Louis Picani of Teamsters Local 456 stated, “Matt Slater has been a fierce advocate for the hardworking families of Westchester and Putnam Counties. He has stood on the forefront with our members fighting for safer working conditions and fair wages. Matt will continue to take part in the perpetual battle for fair labor practices and is a strong voice for not only the men and women of labor, but for all of the hard-working residents who need their voices to be heard. He will lead Yorktown to a new chapter and we proudly stand by his side.
WPCLB Vice President Jayne Cammisa of the New York State Nurses Association added, “NYSNA stands with any friend of labor who supports our issues. Matt Slater has stood with local nurses and will be a great leader for Yorktown.”
Slater is challenging Ilan Gilbert who is completing his first term as Yorktown Supervisor. Gilbert was endorsed by the WPCLB in 2017.
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – In response to Westchester County’s Department of Health shuttering Mohegan Beach Park and Mohegan Beach colony due to blue-green algae, Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater called on New York State’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team to intervene. In a letter to the co-chairs, Slater said both the lake and hamlet need their assistance in combating the harmful algal blooms (HABs) that have consistently closed local beaches in recent years.
“The State’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team was put into place to assist communities like ours that are vulnerable to harmful algal blooms,” Slater explained. “It is time Yorktown puts every option on the table to address the short and long term needs of the Mohegan Lake community.”
Since launching his campaign for Yorktown Supervisor, Slater has been advocating for the need for a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) to improve the conditions of Mohegan Lake. Serving as Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy, Slater helped get Mohegan Lake added to the New York State’s Inland Waterway List in 2018. To date, no additional action has been taken by the Town to maximize the benefits of the designation. In June, state officials added three more local lakes to the same list.
In June of 2018 Governor Cuomo announced the formation of the State’s Water Quality Rapid Response Team and tasked them with devising action plans for 12 identified lakes that are vulnerable to HABs. Mohegan Lake was not included despite a 2016 Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) Report commissioned by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that concluded Mohegan Lake was impaired and highly susceptible to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and invasive species.
“I have met dozens of Mohegan Lake residents who can’t understand why more isn’t being done about a consistent issue that directly impacts their neighborhoods,” Slater said. “People deserve a lake they can enjoy throughout the summer which will add to the natural beauty and enhance this important part of our town. The Mohegan Lake Improvement District has done a great job to date but there are additional resources available for the town to proactively obtain.”
One of the areas that has closed, Mohegan Beach Park, is actually a park district for the Town of Yorktown. According to town records the park district collected $55,000 in taxes In 2018 while spending $26,484.
YORKTOWN, NY – Surrounded by a dozen local veterans at Yorktown’s Patriot Park, Supervisor candidate Matt Slater announced his plans to help streamline the benefits and services he believes local veterans have earned. Announcing Operation Thank You, along with Councilman Tom Diana, Councilman Ed Lachterman and Town Clerk Candidate Mary Capoccia, Slater said their plan would be implemented within his first 30 days in office.
“We have developed a plan that raises the bar for Yorktown’s veterans and will better serve our local vets and their families,” Slater said. “Our plan is to give them a stronger voice in our community while streamlining access to benefits and services.”
The plan includes establishing a Veterans Council and exploring the need for a Veterans Service Agency Office for Yorktown. Several municipalities in Westchester County, including Bedford and Cortlandt, help streamline services through municipal veterans councils or veterans service agency offices.
Yorktown can be a better resource for those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our nation and freedoms, Slater said. “Yorktown’s Veterans Council will provide assistance and connect their fellow vets to an array of services from VA assistance, to property tax exemptions to mental health services.”
Slater said he saw the struggles of a local veteran, Frank Garcia, who had to wait decades to be designated a disabled veteran as well as receiving the New York State Veterans’ Property Tax Exemption. With Slater’s help, Mr. Garcia was able to receive the exemption but his experience highlights the complicated systems local veterans have to endure to receive the benefits and services they deserve.
Yorktown Veteran Frank Garcia said, “I waited 40 years to be classified as a disabled veteran after being injured during training with the National Guard. After meeting Matt he was able to quickly track down new information that I was not aware of which entitled me to the property tax exemption from New York State. I appreciate his efforts.”
Working alongside State Senator Terrence Murphy who represented Yorktown for four years, Slater helped deliver and protect critical funding for the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer to Peer Program for both Putnam and Westchester Counties. The Dwyer Program offers mental health services to soldiers suffering from PTSD or recovering from a traumatic brain injury.
Town Clerk candidate Mary Capoccia applauded the plan saying, “Having a Veterans Council would be an important resource to assist our veterans and their families.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman, who has spearheaded Yorktown’s Annual Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony, wants the council to be charged with developing a living history program to preserve the primary accounts of Yorktown’s local veterans. Calling it Operation Remember, Lachterman explained it would be geared toward the continued education of neighbors and students about the experiences of our local veterans.
“Through my work supporting places like the Country House, I have heard first hand accounts of D-Day invasions and merchant marine operations, simply amazing stories,” Lachterman said. “In addition to forming this council we will task them with completing Operation Remember, a living history program in partnership with local veterans, civic organizations and our public schools to capture and digitize the firsthand accounts of our local veterans to preserve the memories of their service to our nation.”
Yorktown is no stranger to veterans causes. Councilman Tom Diana helped lead the charge to make Yorktown a Purple Heart Town and designating parking spots in front of Town Hall for Purple Heart Recipients.
“Our freedom isn’t free and we have incredible men and women who have made our country what it is today,” Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana added. “My father was in World War II serving in the Battle of the Bulge. We owe a veterans in this town an extreme amount of thank yous and help when we can do so. The Veterans Council is just a mere token of the sacrifices that these men and women have made for us. To all of our veterans, and their families, thank you.
Eugene Lang, a Holocaust Survivor, Vietnam Veteran and Purple Heart recipient Eugene Lang added, “We have signs up in both sides of town saying Yorktown is a Purple Heart Town and parking for Purple Heart recipients. I thank Councilmen Diana and Lachterman for their help getting this done.”
More than 2,600 local veterans in Yorktown currently receive a property tax exemption.
YORKTOWN, NY – Albany officials passed a measure this week adding three more of Yorktown’s local lakes to the State’s Inland Waterway List, but local residents fear the town will do nothing after waiting a year for Supervisor Gilbert to take advantage of similar legislation. In March, Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater called on his opponent to initiate the process of forming a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan for Lake Mohegan. With the State adding three more local lakes to the program Slater is seeking a status report as to Lake Mohegan’s LWRP.
“For the New York State Legislature to designate three more of our local lakes it is obvious lawmakers see great value in having municipalities develop LWRPs for our local waterways,” Slater said. “The State’s deadline for grant applications is July 26th and residents have not been presented with any update from Supervisor Gilbert on Yorktown’s plan to engage in this process for Lake Mohegan which means, once again, this administration is leaving money on the table that could help our local lakes and community.”
Slater served as Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy and helping to pass legislation that added Lake Mohegan and Lake Osecola to New York’s Inland Waterway List. In addition, he assisted in passing the original legislationgiving Sparkle Lake, Junior Lake and Mohansic Lake the inland waterway designation. Local residents have raised concerns over the condition of Sparkle Lake on social media calling for Sparkle Lake to get a “makeover.”
This year New York State allocated $15 million to support Local Waterfront Revitalization Plans. According to the 2018 REDC Awards booklet, the program, “…helps communities breathe new life into their waterfront and underused assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization.”
In 2018 39 projects received State funding through the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program ranging from water quality improvement, to recreational and park enhancements, to green stormwater improvements, feasibility studies, trailway development and improving public access to waterfront attractions.
In a press release announcing the passage of S.3444, State Senator Pete Harckham stated, “The Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) has noted water quality problems at Spark, Junior and Mohansic Lakes in Westchester County. To protect these important lakes in my district, which are an integral part of the Croton Watershed and our drinking/recreational waterways, these lakes must be designated as inland waterways. This bill will allow the affected communities of Yorktown and Yorktown Heights to become eligible for money from NYCDEP to improve the water quality and protect the watershed.” This was Senator Harckham’s first bill to pass the New York State Senate.
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne cited the bipartisan effort needed to add Sparkle Lake and Junior Lake to the Inland Waterway List. “These lakes are a source of drinking water for the community, and provide various recreational benefits to Yorktown residents. People visit and move to our area because of our green spaces and waterways. It’s crucial that we work together to protect them and revitalize them where possible.”
The legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Cuomo.
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – In October of 2018 the Westchester County Board of Legislators passed a resolution supporting the creation and distribution of special pins to be displayed on the uniforms of local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical service workers who served or are serving in the nation’s armed forced. At Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Mohegan Lake Fire Department, County Legislator John G. Testa, State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and local dignitaries recognized the service of more than 20 volunteer and paid firefighters who served in the United States Military.
Westchester County Legislator John G. Testa said, “We can never do enough to thank and recognize our veterans. I am honored to be able to present area Veterans who are also First Responders the recently created Westchester County Veteran Pin to show our appreciation for their tireless service to both our county and community. They are special individuals who should be thanked and appreciated for their dedication and service to others.”
New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne added, “We are always grateful to our veterans and active military who serve our nation. This occasion was particularly special as we joined our local and county partners in government to honor veterans who continue to serve in Westchester County as a member of emergency services. We honor these brave men and women for their years of service to our nation in the military, as well as their continued service to the community in the Mohegan Lake Fire Department.”
Andrew Cerrato, President of the Mohegan Lake Volunteer Fire Company said, “I would like to thank our past and current members who have served our country in various branches of our military service. May God bless them all!”
Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana applauded their past and continued service saying, “I thank County Legislator Testa for bringing this great recognition to Yorktown. Our town is blessed to have such patriotic and passionate individuals who have protected our freedoms and are now serving our community. This was just one small way for us to acknowledge their service and sacrifice.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman agreed saying, “Just last weekend my wife and I were guardians on the Hudson Valley Honor Flight. Anytime we can honor the service of the brave men and women who protect our freedoms we should. I thank County Legislator Testa for taking the lead on this initiative and look forward to our partnership in recognizing similar citizens within our community.”
Matt Slater, former Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy, praised the honorees saying, “Our community was built with the blood, sweat and tears of incredible citizens like those we honored last night. We thank all of our local veterans for their service to our nation and continue to pray for the safe return of all active military members. It is our responsibility to find innovative ways to ensure our brave warriors receive the acknowledgement and benefits they have clearly earned.”
Similar events are being planned to recognize additional veterans and active military members serving in the Yorktown Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Yorktown Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Yorktown Police Department.
YORKTOWN, NY – After nearly a decade of effort by local historians, a piece of Yorktown’s Revolutionary War history will now be preserved. On the 238th anniversary of the Battle of Pine’s Bridge, which took place on May 15, 1787, the town’s Pines Bridge Memorial Plaza and Walkway will be officially unveiled tomorrow.
Funding for the $250,00 project came from a variety of private and government sources, including a $50,000 State and Municipal Grant secured by the office of former State Senator Terrence Murphy.
Matt Slater, candidate for Yorktown Supervisor and former Chief of Staff for Senator Murphy, praised the community effort to preserve an important part of the town’s past. “People often forget how rich our region is with history dating back to the Revolutionary War,” Slater said. “The efforts by the Yorktown Historical Society, Michael Kahn, Town Planner John Tegeder and the Yorktown Planning Department will ensure future generations know about the important role our town played during our nation’s fight for independence and the story of the Rhode Island Regiment in particular.”
Though the colonists ultimately lost the Battle of Pine’s Bridge, it was one of the most heated engagements involving the Rhode Island Regiment, which was one of the first racially integrated units fielded in battle by American forces. The Rhode Island Regiment integrated European, African and Native American soldiers more than 150 years before the United States Army officially took similar action under President Truman in 1948. The unit suffered 14 killed and 30 captured while defending the Croton River against the British at the Pine’s Bridge crossing. The unit’s commander, Colonel Christopher Greene, and its executive officer, Major Nathaniel Flagg, were executed by loyalist guerrillas and are now interred near the First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown.
Former State Senator Terrence Murphy added, “I am proud to have been able to support this important memorial during my time in the State Senate. During a time when history seems to have taken a back seat in our culture, it is refreshing to be a part of a community that embraces its history and protects it for future generations to learn from.”
Under the Grace Administration, the Pines Bridge Memorial received two installments from the Town of Yorktown totaling $167,500. Originally to be displayed at Downing Park, the monument and plaza were relocated to Railroad Park in the Heights Hamlet.
Yorktown Councilman Tom Diana added, “As a lifelong resident of Yorktown I am thrilled to see this important historical memorial and plaza be completed. All good things come to those who wait and I thank everyone who helped pitch in to make this a reality.”
Yorktown Councilman Ed Lachterman stated, “I am proud to have been part of a town board that not only recognized, but took action, to promote the historical significance of Yorktown. All of the hard work that went into this has finally paid off. I would like to especially thank the Pines Bridge Committee for their dedication, and of course, Lorraine DeSisto who unfortunately passed before its completion.”
Commemorative bricks will remain on sale to raise funds for the memorial and be installed annually at similar events to commemorate the Battle of Pine’s Bridge.
As Senator Murphy’s Chief of Staff, Slater was instrumental in maximizing the project’s funding. Originally, State Senator Greg Ball provided a $50,000 grant through the Community Capital Assistance Program in 2012. CCAP grants can benefit municipalities and non-profits. In 2015, Slater reprogrammed the original money to support Putnam ARC, while securing a $50,000 appropriation from the State and Municipal Facilities Program, which directly supports municipal projects. Ultimately, it was the funding from the 2015 allocation that was used to complete the Pines Bridge Monument while Putnam ARC was able to renovate their headquarters in Carmel.
YORKTOWN, NY – Since 1972 school nurses have been celebrated as part of National Nurse Week. According to the National School Nurse Association, there are more than 95,000 school nurses in the United States. Wednesday, Matt Slater representing New York State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, joined local school nurses and the New York State Association of School Nurses to commemorate this year’s celebration.
“Our school nurses are a critical component to maintaining a high level of physical and mental health for our students,” Slater said. “Today is a day for us to celebrate their efforts and thank them for the kindness and care they show our kids on a daily basis.”
Cindy Scinto, a school nurse at Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES which is located in Yorktown, received the 2019 Excellence in School Nursing Award. Scinto, who has been on the Yorktown BOCES campus since 2006, cares for children between the ages of 5 and 21 who have a variety of serious health issues.
State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne said, “Cindy goes above and beyond through her normal duties because of her compassion and sincere care for her students. This award is well deserved and highlights the overall importance of having a school nurse available to our students. Our school nurses leave a lasting impression on all of us and we thank them for all of their efforts in creating a healthy learning environment.”
Both Slater and Byrne have a long history of advancing policies to improve work conditions and supporting the nursing profession. As Chief of Staff to State Senator Terrence Murphy, Slater tackled the heroin epidemic by working with health and school officials to allow school nurses to administer the opioid overdose antidote narcan on school grounds. He also helped create a Nurses of Distinction event, which recognized nearly 30 local nurses, including Mary Beth Guyett, a school nurse for the Lakeland School District.
Slater and Byrne have also fought for a strong public health system and access to quality care by strengthening staff ratios in local hospitals.
YORKTOWN, NY – A recent investigation authorized by the New York State Public Service Commission has identified 43 potential violations by public utilities, including Con Edison and NYSEG which serve Yorktown, for failing to follow state-approved storm emergency response plans a year ago when Winter Storms Riley and Quinn knocked out power to 160,000 residents across the Hudson Valley. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater helped launch the investigation while serving as the chief of staff for the New York State Senate Standing Committee on Investigations and Government Operations.
“This report confirms what we all saw firsthand throughout our community,” Slater said. “The communication from the utility companies to customers and government officials was a disaster. Instead of accurate information, calls were made saying power had been restored when homes remained in the dark. Thank you to the PSC for identifying the problems. It’s now up to the legislature and governor to end the utilities’ repeated mismanagement of storm responses. Our energy rates are the second highest in the nation. We should be getting more for what we pay, starting with adequate storm response.”
Slater had helped author and pass a bill to strengthen emergency plans, adding new criterion which must be included, setting minimum benchmarks and providing stiffer penalties for noncompliance. He says it is critical for immediate action to be taken at the local level.
In Yorktown, Slater proposes setting up an online portal so residents can report damaged or dying trees, alerting town officials of potential problems before storms strike. “The portal will be available all year round and provide a shareable database so that problem trees can be identified, and the proper response can be developed by the town, utilities and residents ahead of an emergency, not once it happens,” he said.
Slater provided hands on support throughout Winter Storms Riley and Quinn, communicating directly with utility officials and organizing relief efforts for local residents. He said pressure on the utilities must continue. Last fall, he assisted in organizing an online letter drive by residents urging the PSC to take action against NYSEG, citing consistent service interruptions and failures by the company.
These efforts can have positive results. NYSEG is now being forced to pay $1.1 million stemming from an investigation into its storm response failures from a windstorm on March 8, 2017, which impacted 48,000 customers. The fine will help pay for improving storm response.
“I have heard from residents across town who don’t even know where to call when trees are lying on power lines,” Slater said. “This is another opportunity for Yorktown to step into the 21st Century and advance our mission of making our town government more efficient, effective and responsible to local taxpayers.”
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced it will be applying aluminate sulfate in Mohegan Lake today as a part of a pilot-program to improve water quality by binding phosphorous, which will control eutrophification. The program was undertaken in February 2018 following advocacy by Assemblyman Kevin Byrne and former Senator Terrence Murphy and coordinated by his chief of staff, Matt Slater, who is now a candidate for Yorktown Town Supervisor.
“It’s great to see the work i engaged in during my time in the State Senate is coming to fruition,” Slater said. “Thank you to the Mohegan Lake Improvement District for keeping up the fight to get the alum treatments approved.”
The program was announced at a press conference today by current Senator Pete Harckham. However, only local Democratic elected officials were invited to the press conference. In contrast, in an effort to rid the lake of it toxic green film, Senator Murphy and Westchester County Executive George Latimer had teamed up to write a letter to Basil Seggos, Chairman of the Department of Environmental Conservation, urging the need for the coordinated rehabilitation plan, including the use of alum to restore the lake’s water quality as well as the area’s overall environment.
A year ago, Senator Murphy said it was his belief that Lake Mohegan will prove the use of alum can successfully battle phosphorous and other harmful algal blooms that plague the area. “We can return the lake to its status as one of the major destinations for recreation in Westchester County,” he said.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said at the time that “Lake Mohegan is one of the most contaminated water bodies in New York State. It is time we act to change that. The use of alum has, in test cases, shown to be effective in combatting the spread of harmful algal blooms, and I commend Senator Murphy’s efforts to expand its use here.”
Several weeks ago, Slater pointed out the town has done little to address the issues Mohegan Lake faces under the Gilbert administration. He pointed out how the town has failed to move forward with a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, a comprehensive planning document that was authorized by the passage of legislation last year. He also noted the town chose not to apply for an EPF LWRP grant in May of 2018, even though the town was eligible at the time.
The alum pilot program is just part of the work Slater has done on Mohegan Lake issues since serving as an Assembly Chief of Staff from 2011-12 and Senate Chief of Staff from 2015-19 representing Yorktown.
Along with prior letters supporting the application of copper sulfate, alum and altering rigid soil testing requirements to suit local needs at Lake Mohegan, Slater delivered an $80,000 grant to purchase a new weed harvesterfor the Mohegan Lake Improvement District. He also helped secure four summits supporting the state’s comprehensive effort to protect vulnerable lakes and waterbodies in Upstate New York from harmful algal blooms. He also helped author and pass the first comprehensive harmful algal bloom mitigation program in the nation through the State Senate, based on the State’s invasive species program.
“I have always believed we should put community above politics,” Slater said. “However, today we saw Supervisor Gilbert play the exact political game he consistently accuses anyone with new ideas of playing. Not only did he try to take credit for something that I was proud to work on during my time in the State Senate, but neither Councilman Diana or Councilman Lachterman were invited to attend today’s event. Yorktown deserves better from their Town Supervisor.”