Mayor Kathy Sheehan Launches the City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative

ALBANY, NY – Today Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced the launch of the City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative. The City of Albany has been selected to participate in the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), Governor Cuomo’s new initiative to combat poverty and reduce inequality throughout New York State. ESPRI is modeled after Rochester’s successful Anti-Poverty Task Force which brought together state and local government, business leaders, and nonprofit representatives in order to redesign and coordinate efforts to address extreme poverty in the Rochester area.
The City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative aims to better align public and private resources with community-based interventions and build partnerships to develop strategies that provide a continuum of solutions that address the unique challenges of our community.
“The City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative award of $1.5 million will be utilized to coordinate local and state governments, non-profit organizations, and community groups dedicated to identifying issues and developing solutions to reduce and eliminate poverty in the City of Albany,” said Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his leadership and dedication to eliminating poverty.”
Under the guidance of Mayor Kathy Sheehan, the City of Albany has selected CARES, Inc., a local nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness, to serve as the lead non-profit organization to formulate a plan and implement a strategy to reduce and eliminate poverty in the City of Albany.
“We are proud to be working with Mayor Sheehan on this initiative and are looking forward to creating the type of partnerships with various sectors in our community that will not only create meaningful change for individuals and families living in poverty, but sustainable change,” said Nancy Chiarella, the Executive Director of CARES, Inc.
While CARES will serve as the lead planner, Pedro Perez will bring his expertise as Director of the City of Albany’s My Brother’s and Sister’s Keeper Initiative to the City’s Poverty Reduction Initiative as the Project Lead.  “The City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative will work on developing deep collaborative networks that will include the business community, not for profit agencies, educational institutions, and most importantly, the people who would benefit most from the initiative’s work,” said Pedro Perez.
Mayor Sheehan, CARES, Inc., and Pedro Perez will meet today with the City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative Steering Committee, which will be comprised of individuals from the City’s business, academic, and healthcare communities. This Steering Committee will determine the focus and scope of the initiative and will serve as the embodiment of the type of cooperation that the City of Albany’s Poverty Reduction Initiative requires. This project will allow our community to deliver effective services by improving collaboration and using existing resources more effectively and purposefully to improve the lives of those living in poverty in the City of Albany.
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Albany Launches The 1624 Keepsake Challenge

ALBANY, N.Y. – In coordination with the City of Albany, the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Albany Public Library and the Albany Art Room, Albany Center Gallery launched the 1624 Keepsake Challenge community art initiative today.

With the goal of promoting Albany’s history and culture through art, the 1624 Keepsake Challenge invites residents and visitors to create 1,624 hand-painted trading cards at events and locations throughout the City of Albany. The name of the initiative celebrates Albany’s first trade settlement as Fort Orange in 1624.

Pieces will be displayed at Albany City Hall as a prelude to the Annual Tulip Festival. The cards will then be used to create a work of art to be presented to Albany’s Sister City in the Netherlands, Nijmegen. This gift is a symbol of the revitalization of the Sister City relationship and Albany’s commitment to establishing an ongoing cultural exchange.

To make this project successful, the organizers need your help. Create a trading card that reflects your vision of Albany. Think about your favorite place, or thing to do. Think about what makes Albany special. Then, create! This is a great activity for residents and business owners, providing a fun and creative way to reflect our city pride.
Attention business owners: If you would be willing to serve as a trading cards creation site, please contact Maeve McEneny at (518) 434-1217 x202 or mmceneny@albany.org to arrange to receive the materials. When all your cards have been completed, please contact her again to arrange for pick-up. Cards must be completed by April 28.

As of today’s date, trading cards and art supplies can be found at the following participating locations:

Albany Center Gallery
488 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207 www.albanycentergallery.org
(518) 462-4775
Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center
25 Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY 12207 www.albany.org/visitors-center
(518) 434-0405

Albany City Hall

24 Eagle Street, Albany, NY 12207 www.albanyny.org
(518) 434-2032
 
Share your card on social media with #1624Keepsake. For more information, visit albanycentergallery.org/1624-keepsake-challenge.
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Capital City Funding: Take Action! Call Governor Cuomo & The Legislature – Say “I support Capital City Funding.”

TAKE ACTION!
CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO & THE LEGISLATURE – SAY “I SUPPORT CAPITAL CITY FUNDING”
Governor Andrew Cuomo
518-474-8390
SENATE
Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan
518-455-2071
Senate Coalition Leader Jeff Klein
518-455-3595
Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins
518-455-2585
Senator Neil Breslin
518-455-2225
ASSEMBLY
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie
518-455-3791
Assemblymember John McDonald
518-455-4474
Assemblymember Patricia Fahy
518-455-4178

Mayor Sheehan Announces Contract Agreement with Albany Firefighters Union

ALBANY, NY – Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced today that the members of the Albany Firefighters Union, IAFF Local 2007, approved a contract agreement with the City.
The contract agreement dates back to 2014. The agreement includes an immediate wage increase of 2.0 percent. A 1.0 percent wage increase will occur on January 1, 2017; and a 0.5 percent on July 1, 2017.
The parties negotiated a wage freeze for 2014 and 2015 and there will be no retroactive salary increase as part of the agreement.
“This is a major step forward for the City of Albany,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “While reaching consensus wasn’t easy, we were able to come together in good faith on a contract that is fair to Albany’s Bravest and fair to taxpayers. Importantly, this agreement recognizes the City’s significant fiscal challenges and allows us to continue our efforts toward building a more sustainable fiscal future.”

The City also recently settled contracts with the Teamsters Local 294 and the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 158.

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The City of Albany Delivers 2016 Cash For Coats Donations

For Immediate Release    
Albany, NY – Yesterday, City staff distributed hundreds of new coats, hats, scarves and gloves to schoolchildren in need at four Albany elementary schools as part of the City of Albany’s 2016 Cash for Coats program. Presented in partnership with Albany Devils Hockey, Burke Companies and Lodge’s Department Store, the campaign collected nearly $8,000 in funds from local citizens and businesses during the month of October. 100% of all proceeds went toward the purchase of brand new winter items supplied by Lodge’s at a deep discount, maximizing the benefit of each cash donation.
Through the community’s donations, 463 new coats and 664 winter hats, scarves and gloves were distributed to local schoolchildren at Arbor Hill Elementary School, Schuyler Achievement Academy, Sheridan Preparatory Academy and the Thomas O’Brien Academy of Science and Technology.
“The results of this campaign are a testament to the community spirit of our Capital City,” said Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Through donations from many individual citizens and local businesses, we are able to ensure that hundreds of local children will have warm clothing to wear this winter. I’d like to thank all of our donors and program sponsors for lending a helping hand.”
“Although I have lived in Albany for most of my life, I am continually amazed and rejuvenated by the generosity of our community,” said Albany School District Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins, Ed.D. “This year’s winter clothing drive is just one more example. I am grateful to Mayor Sheehan for leading this important effort once again, and to everyone who supported this year’s campaign and our students.”
Over the years, the Cash for Coats program has distributed tens of thousands of new winter clothing items to Albany schoolchildren.
Additional partners in the 2016 Cash for Coats Drive include Albany Police Athletic League, Albany Heritage Area Visitors Center, the Downtown Albany BID , Ted and Angela Potrikus and Trustco Bank.
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Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan Declares November 26th Small Business Saturday in Albany to Support and Celebrate Local Small Businesses

Albany, NY – Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan announced her endorsement and Albany, New York’s participation in the seventh annual Small Business Saturday. Falling between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate and support the small, independently-owned businesses that help boost local economies across the country.
“There are thousands of small businesses in Albany, New York that greatly contribute to the amount of private sector jobs in our City,” said Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “Whether it’s in Downtown Albany, the Pine Hills neighborhood, on Central Avenue, in Center Square, or anywhere else in the City of Albany, the entrepreneurial spirit of Albany small business owners is stronger than ever. This sector of store owners, manufacturers, and service providers is a critical facet of our City’s economy.
Small Business Saturday was created in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: more customers. Since inception, Small Business Saturday has served as the ceremonial kickoff to the busy holiday shopping season for small, independently-owned businesses. According to American Express, more than 95 million consumers shopped at small businesses on Small Business Saturday last year.
In recognizing the importance of supporting independent businesses in Albany, New York, Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan:
  • Issued a Small Business Saturday Proclamation and listed Albany, New York on ShopSmall.com
  • Engaged Albany, New York business improvement districts and main streets in planning Small Business Saturday shopping events on November 26th
  • Calls on residents to show their love for small businesses by posting on social media about their favorite local shops and restaurants in Albany, New York with #ShopSmall and #DineSmall
Similar to last year, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a non-partisan small business advocate and operational arm of the Small Business Saturday Coalition, is rallying mayors across the country to show their support and help encourage their local communities to shop small on November 26, 2016.
“In 2015, elected officials in all 50 states and Washington D.C. championed Small Business Saturday which helped drive consumers to shop at small, independently-owned businesses on the day,” said Jason Lalak, vice president of WIPP. “This year, we are further expanding our outreach to Mayors across the country to rally their communities and support their local small businesses throughout the holiday season.”
Albany, New York small businesses will be offered toolkits and other resources to participate in Small Business Saturday by WIPP, on behalf of the Small Business Saturday Coalition.  Additional information about Small Business Saturday is available at: www.ShopSmall.com.
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About Small Business Saturday:
November 26th is the seventh annual Small Business Saturday. Dedicated to supporting local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy, and preserve neighborhoods around the country, Small Business Saturday was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers.
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Mayor Sheehan Responds to Budget Letter Issued by Four of Sixteen Common Council Members

The following letter is a response from Mayor Sheehan to the letter issued by four of the sixteen Common Council members on Sunday that addressed the proposed 2017 budget and other fiscal issues. Please take a moment to read this letter as it brings to light some of the inaccurate claims made in the first correspondence and brings the facts to the forefront.
Click here to view Mayor Sheehan’s response.

City of Albany Holds Ceremony and Reception in Honor of Sergeant Henry Johnson

ALBANY, NY –  Today, at a ceremony at City Hall to honor World War I hero Henry Johnson, Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan announced that June 5 will be designated Sergeant Henry Johnson Day each year to remember the City’s esteemed military hero. June 5, 2017, the first commemoration of the day, will mark the 100 year anniversary of Private Johnson’s enlistment: June 5, 1917.
“Establishing a day to remember Henry Johnson is an honor deserved by one of Albany’s great military heroes,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “He not only exhibited great courage while in battle during World War I, he is a man who demonstrated another kind of bravery when he came home from war and spoke against racism in a segregated country, speaking truth to power.”
“We in the 369th have long fought to give Henry Johnson his due, working with many others in Albany to right this historical wrong and win Sergeant Johnson the Purple Heart and then the Medal of Honor,” said Jim Dandles, President of the 369th Veterans Association, Inc.. “Today we thank all who helped that happen and Mayor Sheehan for creating a day each year where we can remember the example he set and reflect on his virtues.”
“As young people, we look for soldiers who are role models, past and present,” said Cadet Command Sergeant Major Emmanuel Tay, of the Albany High School Junior ROTC, Henry Johnson Battalion. “By creating an annual day to honor Sergeant Johnson, Mayor Sheehan has recognized a man and soldier who we can all look up to.”
It was due to the relentless advocacy of many from Albany, including elected officials, led by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, that resulted in Sergeant Johnson being awarded the Purple Heart in 1996 and the highest honor that a soldier can receive, the Medal of Honor.
As a young man, Johnson joined millions of other African Americans in the Great Migration from the rural South to the industrial North. He settled in Albany, where he worked in a pharmacy, a coal yard, and as a porter at a train station before enlisting in the U.S. Army.
He joined the 369th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the Harlem Hellfighters, the first African American regiment to serve with the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. On the night of May 15, 1918, Henry and another soldier, Needham Roberts, were hit with a hail of bullets from a German raiding party. Needham went unconscious and the raiding party tried to take Needham away. When Johnson’s rifle jammed, he used his gun as a club and then attacked with his Bolo knife, taking down one enemy soldier after another. Reinforcements finally arrived and they saw what Johnson had done—repelled a raiding party and save his fellow soldier from becoming a prisoner of war. These actions resulted in Johnson becoming the first American to be awarded the French Croix de Guerre avec Palme, France’s highest award of valor.
Upon Johnson’s return to the United States, former President Theodore Roosevelt described him as one of the bravest men of the war and he was celebrated in a parade down Fifth Avenue in New York City. But after he spoke out against racism and segregation, he paid a dear price. Sgt. Johnson’s discharge records made no mention of the 21 injuries he suffered and Sgt. Johnson was denied a disability allowance. He received no American military awards in his lifetime, including the Purple Heart, given to soldiers wounded in combat. With debilitating injuries, he couldn’t find work. His marriage fell apart and he died in his early thirties. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
During the June 2, 2015, White House ceremony held to award Sgt. Johnson with his posthumous Medal of Honor, President Obama said, “Now, America can’t change what happened to Henry Johnson. We can’t change what happened to too many soldiers like him, who went uncelebrated because our nation judged them by the color of their skin and not the content of their character. But we can do our best to make it right.  In 1996, President Clinton awarded Henry Johnson a Purple Heart.  And today, 97 years after his extraordinary acts of courage and selflessness, I’m proud to award him the Medal of Honor.”
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Albany Medical Center Provides Payment of $500,000 to the City of Albany to Offset Tax-Exempt Status

For Immediate Release
Albany, NY – Albany Medical Center President and CEO James J. Barba today provided $500,000 to the city of Albany on behalf of Albany Medical Center to help the city fund necessary services provided to residents, businesses and visitors.
At a press conference with Mayor Kathy Sheehan at Albany Medical Center, Barba noted that while non-profits are exempt from paying property taxes, the medical center’s board of directors has recognized the need for every institution in the city to play a role in strengthening its community.  This is the second consecutive year that Albany Medical Center has provided a $500,000 Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to the city.
“Jim Barba understands that Albany Med’s success is closely linked to the success of the city of Albany,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “This important and voluntary payment shows once again that Albany Med is a leader in the Albany non-profit community, helping fund the quality services that Albany non-profits and all the people in our city have come to depend upon.”
“Years ago, working with other non-profits, Albany Med took the lead in recognizing Albany’s financial challenges,” Barba said. “We provided a significant voluntary payment to the city in hopes that other nonprofit organizations would follow suit, and remain committed to working with other nonprofit entities to help Albany address its fiscal challenges.”
Mayor Sheehan noted that, as the center of state government, Albany is impacted more than any other large city in the state, with nearly two-thirds of the city’s land exempt from taxes. While the city of Albany is the fifth largest city in New York State (excluding New York City), it has the highest percentage of exempted properties. It also has the highest value of exempted property per capita, double that of Syracuse and four times that of Buffalo and Rochester.
Albany Med has played a central role in strengthening the community surrounding the hospital.  Since 2006, the medical center has invested tens of millions of dollars to build offices and parking structures to serve a growing population of patients, and has partnered with other businesses to help revitalize an area of the city that had long been overlooked.  The most recent project involves partnering with Tri-City Rentals to redevelop two city blocks into mixed-use, retail, and residential properties.
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New Third-Party Administrator for Workers’ Compensation Expected to Save the City of Albany $250,000 in 2017

For Immediate Release
ALBANY, NY – Today, the City of Albany announced the hiring of the Triad Group, LLC, a new third-party administrator (TPA) to oversee the city’s workers’ compensation claims.
The new TPA, which will act as a liaison between the City and injured workers, is expected to save the City $250,000 in administration fees in 2017, a major part of the reduction in expenditures in the Mayor’s 2017 budget. The hiring is part of the first reevaluation of the City’s workers’ compensation process in 25 years. This decision was made following the hiring of an experienced workers’ compensation consultant and the issuance of an RFP tailored to Albany’s unique needs.
“This reevaluation is in line with my administration’s commitment to putting safety first for all City workers,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “These new procedures will help injured workers get care more quickly and get back to work faster, creating major efficiencies in the process.”
Triad is expected to bring savings by:
  • processing  claims with in-house nurses and attorneys, rather than outsourced reviewers;
  • ensuring injured workers receive care without waiting, enabling them to return to work faster;
  • creating efficiencies by using workers’ comp software instead of paper filings.
Triad Group, LLC, based in Troy, N.Y., is a professional service organization providing comprehensive claims management.  Triad Group is a certified Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) headed by Victoria E. Manes whose clients include numerous cities, towns, villages, counties, and school districts across New York State.
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