NEWBURGH – Adjacent to a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr., on a bluff above the City of Newburgh’s waterfront, members of the Orange County Legislature’s Democratic Caucus outlined plans Tuesday to help bring more diversity and address possible racism in county government.
“We’re trying to understand better the diversity issues and racism issues in Orange County,” said Mike Paduch, minority leader of the county legislature’s Democratic Caucus.
Paduch said Democrats would make a $100,000 proposal Thursday to study these issues, and he’s hoping for Republican and independent support.
The proposal will look at county hiring practices and the reexamination of the hiring practices of current staff. There will also be a request for the Human Rights and Human Resources departments to provide anti-racism, diversity and inclusion training.
Law enforcement is also targeted with a proposed committee to oversee complaints against county sheriff’s office and corrections personnel.
Solitary confinement is also an issue, and the Democratic Caucus wants to end it for those 21 and younger and 55 and older, and limit it to 15 consecutive days or 20 total days during a 60-day period.
The proposal would also look at the impact of COVID-19 on the health of the county’s African and Latino communities and housing assistance for those economically affected by the pandemic.
“It’s important that if we spend money, we do something that benefits the whole county, not just a particular area of the county,” said Paduch. “It’s important to let everyone know that the Democratic Caucus in Orange County stands for improving your life, making your life better, hoping that everyone can work together, and enjoy life together.”