Maggie Brooks

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Maggie A. Brooks
Maggie Brooks marching.jpg
Monroe County, New York County Executive
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 1, 2004
Preceded by John D. "Jack" Doyle
Monroe County, New York County Clerk
In office
April 1, 1997 – December 31, 2003
Preceded by Margaret R. DeFrancisco
Succeeded by Cheryl L. Dinolfo
Monroe County, New York Legislator, 17th District
In office
January 1, 1996 – March 31, 1997
Preceded by Arnold J. Eckert
Succeeded by Dawn G. Shumway
Personal details
Born 1955 (age 58–59)
Nationality American
Political party Republican Party (United States)
Spouse(s) Robert Wiesner
Children 2
Residence Webster, New York
Alma mater Ithaca College
Profession News reporter and anchor
Website www.monroecounty.gov/executive-index.php

Maggie A. Brooks (born 1955) is a broadcasting personality and politician most notable for having served as the first female County Executive of Monroe County, New York.

Brooks graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Political Science in 1977. Her first job out of college was as a general assignment reporter for WHAM (AM) in Rochester, New York.[1] In 1980, she became an anchor television reporter for WHEC-TV and later moved into a reporter position. In 1994, she took a job as vice president of programming for Companion Radio in Penfield, New York.[2]

In 1995, she began her political career by winning a seat on the Monroe County legislature, representing an election district centered on Irondequoit, New York.[3] A year later, then-governor George Pataki appointed her county clerk to fill the vacancy left by the former clerk who resigned to head up the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.[4] Voters subsequently elected her to the clerkship in 1997[5] and reelected her in 2001.

In 2003, she successfully ran for Monroe County executive against then-city mayor William A. Johnson, Jr..[6]

Brooks was considered a potential Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of New York in 2006, as a running mate for former Governor of Massachusetts William Weld. Weld instead chose New York Secretary of State Christopher Jacobs (politician) as his running mate, but later withdrew from the race for the Republican nomination. Brooks was also a contender to be Rick Lazio's running mate New York gubernatorial election, 2010. She was also mentioned as a potential candidate to run for the seat representing New York's 29th congressional district to fill the seat vacated by the Eric Massa who resigned. In 2012, Brooks ran unsuccessfully as the Republican nominee in the 25th congressional district against long-time incumbent Representative Louise Slaughter, losing by 14 points.

Years as county executive[edit]

Speaking at the 2014 Memorial Day ceremony in Greece, New York

In February 2007, Brooks acted to remove funding from the Central Rochester Public Library because the computers were being used to access pornography and could potentially be viewed by children. This action followed from an investigative report on Internet pornography that aired on local affiliate WHEC-TV.[7] The library had a pornography filtering policy that allowed for Internet filtering software to be temporarily disabled for individual adult patrons by request.[8][9] In spite of the filtering policy already in place, and "despite objections from the Rochester (N.Y.) Public Library board, the Monroe County Library System adopted ... a policy to use filtering software to block all websites deemed pornographic...."[10] Later, the board accepted the new policy,[11] and a conservative activist group gave an award to Brooks.[12]

In September 2007, Brooks announced her F.A.I.R. plan, which stands for fairness, accountability, innovation and results. The plan had two main pieces: the first took advantage of a new option enacted at the state level as part of the Medicaid Cap legislation called the "sales tax intercept". This required enactment a local law allowing New York State to "intercept" a portion of Monroe County's sales tax revenue in exchange for the elimination of the county's Medicaid payments to the state; the second was a corresponding reduction in sales tax revenue the county distributed to suburban Monroe County school districts. The county relied on language in a sales tax sharing agreement called the Morin-Ryan Act that required sales tax be distributed by formula based on what the county actually received. The intercept option actually reduced the amount of sales tax revenue received by the county as the local share of Medicaid was captured prior to distribution. Therefore the amount shared was illegally reduced based on the statutory (Morin-Ryan) formula.

The school districts claimed Brooks' plan violated the Morin-Ryan Act between the county and all the municipalities and school districts therein. The Morin-Ryan Act established how Monroe County's sales tax was to be allocated, and the School District decided to file suit. After suffering a loss in the New York Supreme Court, the state's trial level court, the districts appealed and succeeded in overturning the F.A.I.R. plan. The Brooks Administration chose not to pursue an appeal to the State's highest court, instead opting to settle the school district's suit. In the end, the Brooks Administration agreed to pay back all of the illegally withheld sales tax revenue, plus interest and legal fees.

On March 17, 2011, County Legislator Dick Beebe (D) submitted a piece of legislation which would place restrictions protests at military funerals and burials.[13] This proposal, with amendments, soon gained the support of Republicans in the Monroe County Legislature allowing for its passage with support of both Democrats and Republicans on June 16, 2011. Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks signed the legislation into law on June 23, 2011.[14]

ROBUTRAD[edit]

On June 18, 2009, Robert Morone was charged by the federal government with various fraud related charges. The federal criminal complaint against Morone detailed many of the unknown details of the scandal—which is commonly referred to as the ROBUTRAD scandal. Among the new revelations was that the Monroe County Republican Committee's Chief Fundraiser, Irene Matichyn, was a regular recipient of free home repairs and other services provided by the contract workers while they were being paid by the taxpayers. It was also revealed that Andrew Moore, the Executive Director of the Monroe County Republican Committee, may have coerced a contract worker into supporting a GOP candidate for local office under threat that the worker would lose his job if he did not support the candidate. In early September 2009, Moore was indicted by a Grand Jury on a felony count of rewarding official misconduct, as well as a few lesser charges of coercion and official misconduct. [1] In March 2010, all charges were dropped against Moore. [2]

The ROBUTRAD workers were also alleged to have been making campaign donation to Brooks and other Republicans using funds they were stealing from the County. [3] Around the same time that the federal government is thought to have begun their investigation, the Deputy County Executive, James Smith, resigned his position. Brooks has repeatedly said Smith's resignation had nothing to do with ROBUTRAD, but it is clear that authorities investigated possible ties between Smith and ROBUTRAD. In his position as Deputy County Executive, Smith was the number 2 official in Monroe County and essentially in charge of the day-to-day operations of County Government. [4] James Smith was charged with six counts of official misconduct and was acquitted of all counts on March 31, 2010. [5]

UTC Audit[edit]

An audit by the New York State Comptroller of Monroe County's relationship with Upstate Telecommunications Corporation (UTC) was released September 22, 2011. The audit identified several areas of concern, including the fact that Monroe County had paid UTC $8 million more than UTC had expended for their services rendered to the county. UTC was established by the Brooks Administration as a special non-profit corporation, which is separate from but controlled by county government.

The audit also raised concerns about potential bid rigging in the 2004 award of the nearly $100 million contract, noting the Brooks' Deputy County Executive at the time—Richard Mackey—would soon after retire from county government to take a paid consulting position with UTC.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brooks Makes It Official, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 2003-04-29: A1 
  2. ^ Brooks-Lynd Wins Soundly, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1995-11-08: 4A 
  3. ^ Former TV Reporter Wins in Irondequoit, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1995-11-08: 5A 
  4. ^ Seat Filled on County Legislature, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1997-05-08: 3B 
  5. ^ Former TV Anchor Easily Wins Race over Democrat Challenger, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1997-11-05: 8A 
  6. ^ BROOKS SOARS; MONROE CLERK BEATS MAYOR FOR COUNTY POST, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 2003-11-05: 1A 
  7. ^ I-Team 10 Investigates:  Public Library Porn Policy, by Brett Davidsen, WHEC News 10 NBC, April 21, 2007.
  8. ^ Maggie's Shocked! Shocked!, by Mary Anna Towler, City Newspaper, February 27, 2007.
  9. ^ Rochester Public Library Internet Safety and Computer Use Policy and Rules
  10. ^ Rochester Library Will Change Filtering Policy, American Libraries, ALA, May 25, 2007.
  11. ^ Rochester, NY, Board Agrees to County Internet Policy, by Norman Oder, Library Journal, July 6, 2007.
  12. ^ Gold Star Award, by Denise Varenhorst and Judy Craft, Family Friendly Libraries, April 17, 2007.
  13. ^ http://democraticledger.org/2011/Ref-FuneralProtests.pdf
  14. ^ Military Funeral Protest Law Signed - YNN
  15. ^ DiNapoli: Monroe County Audit Reveals Irregularities in LDC Contract, 9/22/11

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Arnold J. Eckert
Monroe County, New York Legislator, 17th District
January 1, 1996 – March 31, 1997
Succeeded by
Dawn G. Shumway
Preceded by
Margaret R. DeFrancisco
Monroe County, New York Clerk
April 1, 1997 – December 31, 2003
Succeeded by
Cheryl L. Dinolfo
Preceded by
John D. "Jack" Doyle
Monroe County, New York Executive
January 1, 2004 – present
Incumbent