The local volunteer community group, established in 2006, will host a weekly roundtable program to help provide City of Kingston and Ulster County residents processes relevant to local issues.
Kingston, NY – KingstonCitizens.org will launch a new weekly program “What’s the Process” on Sundays at 5:00 pm. The first in the series will air on Sunday, May 3 at 5:00pm on KingstonCitizens.org’s Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/KingstonCitizens/ with a discussion on remote public meetings, the basics of the Open Meetings Law, and the Governor’s Executive Order guaranteeing the public’s right to continued access to their government during the COVID-19 crisis.
The program will be recorded and broadcast each week and will tackle local City of Kingston and Ulster County topics with a range of guests. Co-hosts include co-founder and Director of KingstonCitizens.org Rebecca Martin, Associate Professor of Political Science at Marist College and KingstonCitizens.org advisory board member Dr. Lynn Eckert and urban planner and KingstonCitizens.org co-founder and advisory board member Jennifer Schwartz Berky. The three women bring a combined 60 years of experience in municipal, county, state and federal government procedure and process.
“I don’t think there has ever been a more important moment, at least in my lifetime, to have a place for discussion of local issues and their processes as well as to provide opportunities for different points of view.” said Rebecca Martin. “With many of our local papers struggling to stay afloat, our regular program can provide insights and nuances so community members can understand how to be effective in their civic engagement efforts. “What’s the process?” or “Where are we in the process?” are questions that I would like every community member in Ulster County to grow accustomed to asking their elected and appointed officials. I think we can help with that.”
“We need thoughtful, in-depth discussion of the local policy decisions that affect our lives and community now more than ever.” Dr. Lynn Eckert said. “Those in power think that we’re not watching and that they can behave in ways that abuse their position. We need to stay focused on solutions that are in the public good while holding those accountable who are engaged in petty or vindictive actions or feel-good symbolic statements. Real substantive political change takes hard work, not self-promotion, and it involves a constellation of community members, not just elected officials, party leaders or select activists. It takes all of us.”
“KingstonCitizens.org was founded over 10 years ago to help fill a void in our community. People across the political spectrum and diverse walks of life told us they felt left out of the process. They didn’t understand how to engage with local government or make their voices heard,” said Jennifer Schwartz Berky. “In the past decade, we have seen a powerful change in the public’s engagement in Kingston and Ulster County. KingstonCitizens.org has been a force for generating greater transparency in local and county government and growing the ranks of our informed, engaged community. This new program will continue to help fill that void in these challenging times.”
For more information, please sign-up for KingstonCitizens.org newsletter http://eepurl.com/gYWIan or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
About KingstonCitizens.org Established in 2006, KingstonCitizens.org is a non-partisan, grassroots, volunteer organization committed to nurturing transparency in local government through citizen engagement and participation.
About Rebecca Martin A native of Maine, Martin co-founded KingstonCitizens.org in 2006 to understand the inner workings of her new hometown’s local government and to create a platform for citizen engagement. Since then, she has organized more than 100 different initiatives and projects, including serving as ‘ground zero’ for information and civic engagement during the Niagara Bottling Company’s attempt to purchase a significant share of Kingston’s municipal water supply. KingstonCitizens.org later advocated for a Water Powers Referendum, which amended Kingston’s City Charter that passed by a landslide. Martin previously served as Executive Director of the Kingston Land Trust where she led the non-profit group’s Urban Agriculture initiatives, Kingston’s Rail Trail Committee and programming, and an effort to protect African-American history and burial grounds in the City of Kingston. As a musician, Martin tours the world performing her original music. Since 2017, Martin has worked for Riverkeeper and is currently Campaign Manager for the Water Quality Program.
About Lynn Eckert Dr. Lynn Eckert is a political science professor at Marist College in Poughkeepsie. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Gettysburg College in 1992 and a doctorate from The Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2001. Eckert is also a former Alderwoman serving Ward 1 in the City of Kingston, NY and Ulster County Legislator. Her partner is Amy Eckert, a writer, and they have three children, Raymond, Lucy and Ella.
About Jennifer Schwartz Berky Jennifer has lived in the Hudson Valley since 2004, where she has worked with numerous communities and organizations to plan and implement projects in historic sites and neighborhoods. Prior to this, she was a cultural heritage specialist and planner at the World Bank, where she was involved with World Heritage sites and cities and community-driven development programs in over 30 places abroad. Jennifer was also a design and construction project manager for many historic buildings and cultural institutions in her native New York City. She has Masters’ degrees from Columbia University in Urban Planning and Real Estate Development, a BA in Art History from SUNY Stony Brook, and studied conservation at UNESCO’s ICCROM program in Rome, Italy. She is fluent in French, Italian and Spanish. In addition to her work as a planner and historic preservationist, Jennifer has an active civic life as a county legislator, leader, volunteer, and board member in numerous community and sustainable development organizations.