Highlights of the July 18, 2006 meeting
of the
Tompkins County Legislature
As part of its ongoing effort to increase diversity and inclusion related to the County government’s workforce, the Legislature (by a vote of 12 to 2; Legislator Michael Koplinka-Loehr was absent) adopted comprehensive policy guidelines for management and implementation of the Tompkins County diversity program. Building upon the County’s Diversity Statement, adopted by the Legislature last year, the new policy provides policy-level guidance to department managers as they work to recruit, retain and support a diverse workforce.  The policy also communicates to all employees the value of a diverse and inclusive county workforce and outlines how the County will work to achieve it.   At the request of county departments, the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee developed the policy guidelines, which were recommended for adoption by the Legislature’s Personnel Committee.

Tompkins County’s Diversity Statement, upon which the new policy is based, reads as follows:

Tompkins County government is committed to creating a diverse and fully inclusive workplace that strengthens our organization and enhances our ability to adapt to change by developing and maintaining:
  • an organization-wide understanding and acceptance of the purpose and reasons for diversity;
  • recruitment and retention policies that assure a diverse workforce;
  • a workplace environment that is welcoming and supportive of all;
  • awareness, understanding, and education regarding diversity issues;
  • zero tolerance for expressions of discrimination, bias, harassment, or negative stereotyping toward any person or group; and
  • a workforce ethic that embraces diversity and makes it the norm for all interactions, including delivery of services to the public.

“It is extremely positive to see the County move seriously toward diversity and inclusion and away from simply affirmative action,” said Leslyn McBean, who chairs the Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee.  “It involves organizational culture change and cultural communication change.  It’s exciting, enlightening and encouraging to see this important effort move forward.”
As part of the policy, departmental performance and progress toward meeting the County’s diversity goals will be monitored and evaluated each year.
Contact: Leslyn McBean-Clairborne, Chair, Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee, 277-5104


By a vote of 8 to 6 (Legislator Michael Koplinka-Loehr was absent), the Tompkins County Legislature voted to hold a public hearing on a proposed Local Law which would authorize a Countywide tax on real estate transfers. 

The Legislature invites all persons interested in the subject to provide comment to the County Legislature on Tuesday, August 1, 2006 at 5:30 pm.  The meeting will be held in the Legislative Chambers of the Tompkins County Courthouse, located at 320 North Tioga Street in the City of Ithaca.

The Legislature last year requested that New York State adopt legislation to enable the County to impose a County transfer tax, charged to the sellers of real property, from $4 to up to $6 per $1,000 of recorded real estate transfers.  All proceeds from the current $4 tax are paid to New York State.  If the increase is enacted, the County will retain the additional revenue, estimated at $500,000 to $600,000 annually, to be used to support the county’s “physical, transit and educational infrastructure.” The State Assembly and State Senate have approved the proposal that, at last report, was awaiting the Governor’s signature. 
Contacts: Michael Koplinka-Loehr, Chair, Budget and Capital Committee, 257- 2329, Tompkins County Legislature (607) 274-5434.

Thirteen-year-old Charles Whitsell of Groton was chosen as the latest recipient of the Tompkins County Distinguished Youth Award.  Nominated by Viola Fitzgerald of Groton Youth Services, Charles was praised as an extremely civic-minded young man, who volunteers with the Groton Farmers Market, Groton’s Helping Hands Program, beautification and other programs, dedicating many positive services to his community.  The Tompkins County Distinguished Youth Award is sponsored by the Tompkins County Legislature, A & B Engraving, Bangs Ambulance Service, Cayuga Radio Group and Purity Ice Cream.