The Westchester Board of Legislators approved the appointments of several county commissioners and department heads at a meeting Monday morning, resolving the complaints of some legislators that commissioners were serving, sometimes for years, without the approval of the board.
The approvals appeared to be part of a larger deal that officials were not willing to talk about on the record. But they came just before the Board of Legislators voted 17-0 to appoint Dennis D. Mehiel to the board of the Westchester County Health Care Corporation, which governs Westchester Medical Center. The vote was a reconsideration of his appointment, with the original 10 to 7 vote in November breaking down on party lines. County Executive Rob Astorino then vetoed his appointment.
Mehiel is the former CEO of U.S. Corrugated, Inc. and is now president of U.S. Display Group. His father ran for lieutenant governor on the ticket with H. Carl McCall and is a former chairman of the Westchester Democratic Party and major Democratic fundraiser. He also served on the Medical Center board.
The board approved John McCaffrey as the chief information officer in the Department of Information Technology, effective Sept. 21 2012, Kunjlata Ashar as the county’s pathologist and medical examiner, effective Sept. 24, 2012, Jay Pisco as commissioner of public works and transportation, effective Jan. 23, 2012, Mary Mahon as director of real estate, effective July 1, 2013, Iris Pagan as executive director of the Youth Bureau, effective Dec. 10, 2012, and Robin Schlaff as executive director of the Office of Women, effective July 8, 2013.
The board put off the approval of Melissa Staats as the acting commissioner of the Department of Community Mental Health until later Monday after Legislator Alfreda Williams objected to her appointment without knowing who would oversee clinical services in the department. When the commissioner has an administrative degree, the county must also designate a senior level clinician to oversee clinical services, she said.