Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

Legislature President Jeff Adair Blocks Basic Burial Reforms

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Rochester, New York – July 11, 2012.  The Republican President of the Monroe County Legislature has stifled proposed reforms to the County’s Indigent Burial Program before the reforms could even be considered by a legislative committee.

Assistant Minority Leader Willie Joe Lightfoot (D-Rochester), sponsor of a cost-neutral proposal to restore burial assistance funding, said, “While the reason for the rejection of our proposals is currently unknown, what is clear is that we have a very troubling system for burying our poor in this County. Since 2006, when the County Executive originally cut the burial funding, we have heard from many local residents who have had serious issues with this program. This is an issue that will not be going away.”

Legislator Cindy Kaleh (D-Rochester), sponsor of a proposal to enact basic minimum standards for the burial program, said, “For the County Executive to say the current program ‘strikes the necessary balance’ is absurd. Things are most certainly not in balance when a child’s burial is delayed for weeks simply because the family can’t afford a proper and respectful burial. Despite the fact that this worthy program was cut in 2006, the County Executive has since given her highest paid political appointees hundreds of thousands of dollars in raises, while the names of deceased are erased. The County Executive and her legislative allies should be ashamed of themselves for stifling basic services for the neediest residents of our community.”

Democrats will wait until they receive a reason for the proposals having been rejected before deciding what the next steps are.

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