[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 6-18-2019 by L.L. No. 27-2019. Amendments noted where applicable.]
This Legislature hereby finds and determines that a substantial number of women veterans reside within Suffolk County. This Legislature also finds and determines that it is often difficult for women veterans to congregate and voice their opinions, which leaves them underrepresented in the development of policies and programs that may benefit them. This Legislature further finds and determines that providing elected officials with vital input from this component of our County's veterans population is crucial to ensure that the County is meeting the needs of this group of brave service women. This Legislature further finds and determines that in order to fully represent the needs of the County's women veterans community, a Women Veterans Advisory Board should be created to provide this underserved group with a platform to advocate for the best interest of their community.
Therefore, the purpose of this chapter is to create a Women Veterans Advisory Board that gives a voice to the underrepresented community of women veterans residing within Suffolk County.
The Suffolk County Women Veterans Advisory Board is hereby created to discuss issues of importance and relevance to the women veterans community and to make recommendations regarding proposed legislation, policies, and programming to the Suffolk County Legislature and to the Suffolk County Executive in connection with the following:
To advocate on behalf of the women veterans community in Suffolk County;
To encourage civic participation at all levels of government by women veterans;
To promote governmental interaction with women veterans and to provide information necessary for women veterans to enable them to have equal access and opportunity to be heard in Suffolk County; and
To improve understandings between women veterans, Suffolk County government, and Suffolk County residents.
The Suffolk County Women Veterans Advisory Board shall consist of 11 members, to be selected as follows:
One female veteran representative to be appointed by the Presiding Officer of the County Legislature, said representative to serve an initial term of two years;
One female veteran representative to be appointed by the Chairperson of the Veterans Committee of the County Legislature, said representative to serve an initial term of two years;
One female veteran representative to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the County Legislature, said representative to serve an initial term of two years;
One female veteran representative to be appointed by the Director of the Veterans Service Agency, said representative to serve an initial term of two years;
One female veteran representative to be appointed by the County Executive, said representative to serve an initial term of two years;
One female veteran from each of the five different service branches, to be selected by the County Legislature, said representatives to each serve initial terms of three years.
The Chairperson of the Veterans Committee of the County Legislature, or his or her designee, will maintain one nonvoting ex-officio position on the Board and shall not count towards quorum.
The initial terms of office shall commence upon appointment, and all subsequent appointments shall be for a term of three years.
The Board shall hold its first meeting no later than 30 days after the effective date of this chapter, which meeting shall be convened by the Chairperson of the Veterans Committee of the County Legislature, to serve as interim Chairperson, for the purpose of organization and the appointment of a Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and a Secretary. For the purposes of this section, the Chairperson shall be selected by a majority of the members of the Board.
The Board shall hold at least quarterly meetings, keep a record of all its proceedings and determine the rules of its own proceedings, with special meetings to be called by the Chairperson upon her own initiative or upon receipt of a written request therefor signed by at least three members of the Board. Written notice of the time and place of such special meetings shall be given by the Secretary to each member at least four days before the date fixed by the notice for such special meeting.
Six members of the Board shall constitute a quorum to transact the business of the Board at both regular and special meetings.
The Board may conduct such informal hearings and meetings at any place or places within the County of Suffolk for the purpose of obtaining necessary information or other data to assist it in the proper performance of its duties and functions as it deems necessary.
The Board may delegate to any member of the Board the power and authority to conduct such hearings and meetings.
The Board shall cooperate with the legislative committees of the County Legislature and make available for each committee's use, upon request, any records and other data it may accumulate or obtain.
The Board shall submit a written annual report of its findings and determinations, together with its recommendations for action, if any, to the County Executive, the Clerk of the County Legislature, and each member of the County Legislature no later than January 31 of each year, for the prior calendar year's activities, for consideration, review and appropriate action, if necessary, by the entire County Legislature.
None of the work contemplated by this chapter shall be performed by any outside consultant or consulting firm unless explicit approval and authorization for such consultant or consulting firm is granted pursuant to a duly enacted resolution of the County Legislature.
This chapter shall apply to actions occurring on or after the effective date of this chapter.