County Executive Hein is Ulster County’s first executive. For more than 40 years, Ulster County was run by a part time legislature. In 2006, county residents decided they needed an Executive who would take responsibility for properly managing the county’s $350 million budget, and so they voted to adopt a charter form of government with a County Executive.
Fixing a Broken System
Prior to the creation of this new form of government, the New York State Department of Health had declared that the Ulster County Health Department was one of the worst run health departments in the State of New York. County Executive Hein immediately took action to reform this struggling department, which among other things has responsibilities for permitting and inspecting Ulster County’s restaurants. After removing the Public Health Director, County Executive Hein recruited Center for Disease Control trained physician, Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. Additionally, County Executive Hein instituted numerous controls to correct the deficiencies of the Health Department. Only one year later, the New York State Department of Health delivered a glowing report to the Ulster County Health Department, recognizing the vast improvements made by the County Executive.
The Ulster County Department of Public Works had long been a home to overstaffing and overspending. The County Executive was able to significantly cut the workforce by redesigning the way the DPW manages its operations. County Executive Hein also installed an innovative Global Positioning Management System (GPS) into all of the Department of Public Works’ vehicles and transitioned the snow plow crews from two to a vehicle to single-man plows.
Improving Public Integrity
Mike Hein believes that a high level of integrity is a required value for all public employees. In 2010, in order to end nepotism or even the appearance of such, County Executive Hein issued Executive Order No. 1 of 2010, which was directed at all departments, boards, agencies and commissions under his jurisdiction.
Initiating Shared Services
A major focus of County Executive Hein’s administration has been on sharing services with local governments. To better understand the areas ripe for collaboration, County Executive Hein applied for a New York State Department of State grant to conduct a shared services study. Due to these efforts, the County has entered into several inter-municipal agreements with local towns as well as the City of Kingston.
For many years the City of Kingston and Ulster County have attempted to combine their fire dispatch service with little success. Under County Executive Hein’s watch, this proposal became reality as the City of Kingston and Ulster County recently signed a letter of intent for Ulster County to take over the dispatch function for the City of Kingston Fire Service.