CARMEL, NY – On December 30th, 2022, at Carmel High School’s Casey Hall, Kevin Byrne was sworn-in as Putnam County Executive. He took the Oath of Office among hundreds of attendees from the community, surrounded by family. A lifelong county resident, and graduate of Carmel High School, Byrne comes to the office after 3 terms of service as the county’s New York State Assemblyman.
“As County Executive, I will ensure our mission is to deliver a responsible, affordable, accountable government that serves us all and continues to put the people of Putnam County first,” said County Executive Byrne. “I remain grateful to all those who served, and continue to serve, in county government who have led with a desire to better this community so it may continue to prosper. Together, we will continue to promote opportunity, freedom, and respect for one another.”
The oath of office was administered by former Dutchess County Executive and current Congressman Marc Molinaro following a presentation of the colors by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Cadets, Carmel Troop 1 Boy Scouts (where Byrne earn the rank of Eagle Scout as a high school student), and the Putnam County Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol. They were escorted in by a contingent of the Steven P. DriscollMemorial Pipe Band (of which Byrne is a founding member) on the bagpipes, immediately followed by the Pledge of Allegiance lead by military veterans Karl Rhode (US Army, Ret), James Burpoe (US Army, Ret), and County Executive Byrne’s brother Christopher Byrne (US Air Force). The national anthem was sung by Putnam County Sheriff’s Cadet Veronika Bilinski, an invocation was given by Reverend Casey Carbone of First Presbyterian Church of Mahopac, and the benediction was given by Rabbi Sarah Freidson of Temple Beth Shalom of Mahopac.
FULL TEXT OF SPEECH BELOW
I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to all of you in attendance and to all those who helped make this moment possible, especially the people of Putnam County who have placed their trust in me to be your County Executive for the next four years.
Thank you to my friend, outgoing Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, or should I just say “Congressman”, for administering the oath of office. It means so much to me that you’re here today. I first met Marc years before I first ran for elected office and he’s been a model public servant in village, state and county government. He’s done tremendous work for the people of Dutchess, just as I know we will do tremendous work for the people of Putnam.
So many people, near and dear to my heart, worked tirelessly to get us to this point. I simply cannot name them all, but at the core, as always, is family. I must acknowledge my partner on this journey: my beautiful, hard-working, patient wife Briana and our wonderful 2 ½ year old son Braeden. My parents, Dan & Patty Byrne, my in-laws Vinny & Karin Messina, my 96 year-old grandmother Jane Byrne, my brother and sister Chris and Trishia and their wonderful families, and so many others. Thank you, Thank you Thank you.
I also want to thank our transition team, the committee that put this ceremony together, as well as our hosts: the great staff at the Carmel Central School District for opening their doors to us today. Superintendent Mary-Margaret Zehr, Building Head Brian Ward, and of course Braeden’s Godfather who spent lots of time with me at this school over 20 years ago, Chris Stone. Conducting this ceremony in a place I grew up, where I called home and graduated from makes this moment truly special. Thank you.
Other individuals whose work, advice and council had a profound impact on my life, and who I believe were here throughout our challenges in spirit, were Jim O’Neill, Jack Gress, Jack Hufnagel, Pat Perry, Dennis Sant and to the extent he could have been legally as a former county court judge, Jimmy Reitz. We miss them all dearly.
It has been an incredible honor to serve these past three terms as your state Assemblyman and know that I will look fondly back on my years as a state legislator serving the people of Putnam & Westchester counties. As your County Executive, I look forward to maintaining and building on those relationships I have acquired to make Putnam County’s representation even stronger with our newly elected and re-elected state representatives.
And I know Putnam County’s voice will be heard loud & clear at the federal level thanks to our new Congressman, my former Assembly colleague, Mike Lawler. It also helps that I have Mike’s & Marc’s cell phone number.
Unlike many other speeches you may hear from me and other elected officials this is not a campaign speech, it’s not a press conference, a state of the county or a budget presentation.
This is a special occasion to mark a new beginning with a new administration led by a new generation of leadership. This is a moment to show gratitude, to provide vision, instill confidence and lead.
As your County Executive, our mission and our goal is to deliver a responsible, affordable, accountable government that serves us all and continues to put the people of Putnam County first. I remain grateful to all those who served in county government who have led with a desire to better our county so it may continue to prosper: with more opportunity, more freedom, and more respect for one another.
It’s interesting when I speak with people from across the state and country and I describe our county. What makes it so attractive? The beautiful parklands, trails, reservoirs, the Hudson River, the history, the small businesses, and so much more… But in the end, I always say it’s the people. It is the people that make Putnam County so great.
Regardless of what may make us different as individuals it is our respect for each-other as neighbors, our desire to step up and serve, to lend a hand, and leave this beautiful county better off than we found it, that makes this place so special. It is with that in mind that I serve, and will always serve, with a desire to do better.
And with support from our partners in county government, our County Clerk, our District Attorney, our Sheriff, and most of all, our County Legislature, that is exactly what we will do.
As your new County Executive, know that we will stand up for active military, veterans and first responders, and we will support ALL our Constitutional freedoms.
In the months ahead, we will work with members of the Putnam County Legislature:
- To cement administrative guard rails that will better control the growth of county government spending.
- To open up county government, make it more transparent and accessible to the average citizen
- To update and upgrade our county’s infrastructure, both traditional and digital, to bring Putnam County Government and its public communications into the modern age
- To enhance efficiencies, streamline services and identify cost savings to limit government’s need to raise property taxes
A well-oiled, functioning county government is essential to supporting a thriving community and county. We will work to ensure that the services provided by the county, mandated or not, will be delivered in a professional and respectful manner.
Our schools, businesses, and commuters need safe roads and sound bridges to travel over. When a medical or traumatic emergency occurs, we need a functioning 911 center to answer the call, perform and dispatch first responders. Our seniors deserve services to better enable them to age in place so they can continue to call Putnam County their home. Our military heroes, our veterans, have earned our gratitude and need a contact in the county to help them navigate the myriad of services available to them. We also deserve a parks system that continues to protect open spaces and provide access to parkland for environmental, recreational and educational benefits. All these things, and so much more performed by our county government, are important. We will make sure the people on the ground doing this important work know that we respect them; that we understand their work is meaningful and that it has a positive impact on the lives of our Putnam County families.
As a former state legislator, I have always had a strong appreciation for those who serve in any legislative branch of government. I congratulate all our newly elected and re-elected county legislators and thank them as well as our incumbents, from both parties, for the kindness they’ve shared and the willingness to work together that they have demonstrated to me. The Legislature is the body that is closest to the people, who we all work for. It deserves respect. Know that it has this from me as your County Executive.
I’m sure we’re going to have many debates and a few disagreements over the next four years, but I know that we will work well together when we make policy- not personality- the core of our debate. And despite any disagreements we may have in the future, at the heart of every spirited discussion there will be an underlying understanding that we are all standing up for what we believe is in the best interest of Putnam County and its people.
As I’ve said many times before, when you run for office or seek to persuade the minds of people who may otherwise disagree, you need to meet them, hear them out, digest the information, and then ultimately choose a path forward whether they like it or not. Know that as your County Executive I will continue to do this, as I have as your state legislator. That begins on our very first day.
Trust that on January 1., 2023, Putnam County will have a county executive that shows up – ready to work.
We have an ambitious agenda to pursue over our next four years. Joined by so many talented new and returning county employees, I know we are up for the challenges that lie ahead.
Together, we will improve our county, protect our families, and ensure our amazing county continues to prosper. Now let’s go get it done. Thank you.
The above information was previously distributed and made public for immediate release by the County Executive’s Office