POUGHKEEPSIE – Dutchess County Executive William F.X. O’Neil has appointed Rachel Kashimer to serve as Deputy County Executive and Chief of Staff, filling the roles recently vacated by County Executive O’Neil following his swearing in as the 8th Dutchess County Executive last week. The Dutchess County Legislature will review the appointment resolution and voted on its approval at the January 16th Board meeting.
County Executive William F.X. O’Neil said, “Rachel has long been my trusted confidant and one of the brightest stars within Dutchess County Government, continually rising to meet any challenge, particularly in trying times. She approaches every task – from the miniscule to the monumental – with professionalism, poise and skill, always with the best interest of our residents at heart. Results-driven, Rachel will continue to excel in her new role, and Dutchess County Government will continue to thrive under her leadership.”
Ms. Kashimer has been serving in Dutchess County Government since May 2012 following her graduation with honors from Indiana University with Bachelor of Science degree in Public Affairs. She began as Budget Assistant in the Budget Office, and since then has continuously taken on greater responsibilities in various positions including Research Analyst, moving up to her most current role as Assistant County Executive.
As part of the County Executive’s senior staff, Ms. Kashimer’s responsibilities have been wide-ranging over her time in County government. As Research Analyst, and then Sr. Research Analyst, she was responsible for oversight, development and fiscal management of complex department budgets including the Department of Public Works and Behavioral & Community Health.
Many people would recognize Ms. Kashimer’s graphic and presentation skills as she has been responsible for the graphic creation of many key publications and presentations, including the countywide Budget-in-Brief education mailer and the annual State of the County presentation, as well as numerous Town Hall and project presentations.
In 2021, Ms. Kashimer stepped up to serve as Assistant County Executive – focused on COVID Operations. In this role, she directly supervised operations related to Dutchess County Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She served as the community liaison regarding COVID-19 for municipal officials, educational leaders, business owners, healthcare executives and many others; facilitating regular conference calls and other updates to ensure information was distributed throughout the Dutchess County community.
She oversaw the rollout of vaccination efforts, including the establishment of the County’s fixed vaccination sites in Poughkeepsie and Dover where thousands received their COVID-19 vaccine, as well as various points of distribution (PODs) throughout the county.
She also managed the distribution of thousands of COVID-19 test kits and masks to the public and targeted community organizations.
Kelly MacMillan, Senior Vice President, Government & Community Relations for Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth), said, “Having worked closely with Rachel on several initiatives crucial to the people of Dutchess County, including COVID-19 vaccine distribution and the forthcoming Behavioral Health Center of Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital, I’m keenly aware of her expertise, hard work and attention to detail, all of which have positively impacted her community. Rachel’s coordination has been critical to addressing emerging issues affecting our community, as has her focus to bring about definitive results.”
More recently as Assistant County Executive, Ms. Kashimer has been focused on oversite and project management for several priority county projects, including:
Purchase and development of Camp Nooteeming in Pleasant Valley, including the development of youth programming such as summer camp operations;
Coordination of the Municipal Body Worn Camera Cooperative Program which seven municipal and county law enforcement agencies are participating in;
Rollout of the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Helpline; and
Contract negotiation for the new Behavioral Health Center for Excellence at MidHudson Regional Hospital with Westchester Medical Center.
In this newest role, she will serve as Chief of Staff, supervising the County Executive’s senior staff who oversee the administration of all departments under the Executive branch of County Government. Senior staff include the County’s Budget Office and Communications Office. In accordance with the Dutchess County Charter, as Deputy County Executive, she will act on behalf of the County Executive when the County Executive is absent from the County, ensuring continuous, streamlined management by an individual who is already intimately involved in the ongoing activities and policy development of the Executive office. The Deputy County Executive can also be delegated the authority to act administratively for the County Executive.
County Legislator Chairman Gregg Pulver said, “Rachel is a true asset to Dutchess County Government, and it’s been a pleasure to work with her as the Chairman of the Legislature. She has been a wealth of knowledge and has always been ready and willing to work with the Legislature to deliver real results to the residents of our community. Rachel has been an incredible leader, beginning as a Budget Assistant and growing to oversee programmatic and Departmental initiatives, and I know she will continue to offer strong proposals and solutions that will only better our County going forward as she adapts to her new role as the Deputy County Executive.”
In addition to her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, Ms. Kashimer earned her Master of Business Administration from Marist College in May 2020. She is a member of the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council and the New York State of Association of Counties. In 2022, she completed the New York State Tier 1 Emergency Management Certification for County Chief Executive Officials.
She is also actively involved in the local community, serving on numerous boards and committees, including the ThinkDIFFERENTLY Foundation, Inc. and the Dutchess County Leadership Prayer Breakfast Board. She also previously served as Board Member and Vice Chair for Care Net Pregnancy Center of the Hudson Valley.
In 2017, she was recognized for her accomplishments and community involvement with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Forty Under 40 Mover & Shaker Award.
Ms. Kashimer said, “I am excited to take on this new challenge and I appreciate the confidence and faith County Executive O’Neil has shown in appointing me as Deputy County Executive. The scope and the diversity of the work done throughout Dutchess County Government is astounding, and over the past decade, I have been honored to be part of projects and initiatives that have touched so many lives. I am grateful to former County Executive Marc Molinaro who gave me an opportunity to serve when I first began my career 12 years ago. It has been a true blessing to work with such dedicated people who are all committed to serving Dutchess County residents to the best of their ability and always striving to enhance the quality of life for all of our neighbors.”
Ms. Kashimer, 31, is a resident of the Town of Wappinger, where she lives with her husband, David and their three-year-old son, Henry and dog, Kona. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, enjoying both water and snow skiing as well as walking and hiking and can often be found enjoying Dutchess County Park’s trail offerings.