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 – Yorktown Supervisor Candidate Matt Slater says the town should be doing more to provide information to residents and town employees that could calm concerns regarding the use of herbicides and pesticides before they rise. Slater believes Yorktown should enhance its notification capabilities to allow concerned residents and employees to receive notices when vegetation management is underway at town parks and public buildings. In addition, he is proposing the town provide an online account of vegetation management practices cataloged by property so the public can see, before arriving to their destination, if any pest management controls were applied.
On March 1, 2001 New York State enacted the Neighbor Notification Law to ensure advance notification of the use of pesticides to neighboring properties. Westchester County opted into the state program in 2009 which applies to commercial pesticide applicators, property owners, retailers and homeowners. Recent vegetation management at Willow Park, located on the corner of Curry Street and Tulip Drive, have raised questions over Yorktown’s own notification policies when addressing vegetation issues on town owned property.
“Private businesses have strict notification requirements and it is time our town government holds itself to the same standard,” Slater explained, “As a parent who often visits Willow Park with my young son I can understand the concerns neighbors have when they see and smell what appears to be chemical use in a kid or pet friendly place. Our local government can easily provide accessible information that not only preempts questions or concerns but ensures the public is indeed safe from harmful chemicals.”
Originally questions were raised on social media about the overall condition of the park. Residents posted pictures of weeds growing through benches, damaged slides and trash in the play area. On Saturday evening, more concerns were raised over the state of the park as well as “…the strong odor of weed killer…”
Chemicals that are frequently used as part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Programs are registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and cataloged to provide detailed information of the ingredients contained in them.
Slater continued, “It is time to redesign local government with the end user in mind. Thankfully, in the case of Willow Park, organic weed killer was used to combat overgrowing vegetation but we should be taking the extra step of proactively informing our citizens and providing clear and accessible information to those who are searching for it.”
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.”
MOHEGAN LAKE, NY – Over $14 million in local waterfront revitalization program funding is being left on the table since Yorktown has failed to complete it’s local waterfront revitalization plan, or LWRP. Today, Yorktown supervisor candidate Matt Slater joined Council members Tom Diana and Ed Lachterman, to call for the process to begin for Mohegan Lake, which has closed for parts of each summer since 2012 due to water conditions.
“Mohegan Lake became eligible for the local waterfront revitalization program over six months ago, but nothing has happened,” Slater said. “In the Senate, I helped secure $80,000 for a new weed harvester in Mohegan Lake and secure special permits from DEC to combat algae and invasives, but these are minor victories. Issues in the hamlet and greater watershed including failing septic systems, traffic, and pollution at the town’s only public access point, the Holland Sports Club, will cost millions of dollars to remediate. A local waterfront revitalization plan can provide those dollars.”
Over a year ago, former Senator Terrence Murphy passed legislation to authorize the town of Yorktown to participate in the state’s inland waterway program to help Mohegan Lake, which allows the town to complete an LWRP. Yorktown Supervisor candidate Matt Slater served as Murphy’s chief of staff, and helped similarly protect dozens of other waterways in communities like Peekskill and Somers, which are already pursuing their LWRPs. Last week, Murphy’s successor, Senator Peter Harckham, passed his first bill through the State Senate, which would authorize three additional Yorktown lakes to have LWRPs, but the town is yet to act on last year’s law.
Council member Tom Diana said, “This is a beautiful lake that I used to swim in growing up, but since 2012, this lake has basically not been open for swimming. The algae is so thick, its almost like you could walk across it. With an inland waterway designation, we would be able to get the help we need to keep this lake a viable resource to the community.”
Council member Ed Lachterman said, “This is not only about cleaning the lake, but cleaning the areas around it. There is a lot of grant money available, we could work on sewers and do a lot of projects that have been a priority that our current supervisor says, ‘hey, we’re going to work on’, but we’re not working on them. I hope we can get the ball rolling on this.”
New York’s coastal and inland waterways program was designed to help be a sword or a shield for communities to access funding through an LWRP to achieve goals including toxic blue-green algae control and phosphorous reduction, flood control, tourism and economic development, while requiring all actions taken by developers, as well as federal, state and local government agencies, be consistent with the plan.
“Walking into the Supervisor’s office, there should not be a learning curve,” Slater concluded. We know what we want to get done. We should not be waiting a year to draft a plan to protect New York’s most endangered lake.”
YORKTOWN, NY – The Grand Old Party in Westchester County ain’t dead yet. That is the message republicans are proclaiming as new candidates step up and challenge democrats in the northern and southern parts of the county. In the wake of the Blue Wave that swept Westchester in 2016 and 2017, several new, fresh faces have stepped forward to talk about taxes, affordability, and present a different narrative to the progressive ideals proclaimed by many democrats in Westchester and New York State.
In the Town of Yorktown, Longtime political operative Matthew Slater has declared his candidacy to become the next Yorktown town supervisor. Yorktown, which was a republican stronghold for decades, recently elected its first democratic supervisor in more than a generation, when Ilan Gilbert defeated Michael Grace in 2017.
Slater is not new to government, having served as chief of staff for former State Sen. Terrence Murphy, as well as having served as mid-Hudson regional director for the New York State Assembly Minority Conference. Slater served as chairman of the Yorktown GOP committee until stepping down to run for supervisor.
“People that have lived here all of their lives and people that just moved in say the same thing, Yorktown is just too expensive,” he said. “Decades of poor planning and bureaucratic hurdles have created a system where expenses continue to outpace revenue and nothing is done to ease our residential tax burden.”
Slater has been endorsed by Murphy, his former boss. “There are a lot of unsung heroes in public service and to have Matt step up from behind the scenes will be a huge win for the people of Yorktown,” said Murphy.
State Assemblyman Kevin Byrne also endorsed Slater, saying: “In Yorktown alone, he helped us alienate parkland to preserve a historic cemetery, designate nearly two dozen local lakes including Mohegan Lake, Sparkle Lake and Junior Lake – as inland waterways for the purposes of waterfront revitalization and environmental remediation, as well as rename two of Yorktown’s state roads for fallen warriors of the community.”
Slater, 33, and his wife, Kellie, have a 3-year-old son. He is a 2004 graduate of Yorktown High School, received his undergraduate degree from St. Anselm College, and earned his Master of Public Administration from Marist College.
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YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY – Lifelong Yorktowner Matt Slater announces his candidacy for Supervisor with his Mom, wife Kellie, and son Charlie.
YORKTOWN – Longtime political operative Matthew Slater has declared his candidacy to become the next Yorktown town supervisor. He will face incumbent Town Supervisor Ilan Gilbert in November.