William F.X. O’Neil Leaves A Successful Legacy

POUGHKEEPSIE – Following nearly two decades of service in Dutchess County Government, including the past 12 months as County Executive, William F.X. O’Neil will retire as Sue Serino begins her new administration in the beginning of 2024. O’Neil completes a legacy of success that will be felt for years to come – from programs and services that continue to benefit County residents, to improved offices for Dutchess’ workforce of 1,700-plus employees and new and enhanced facilities for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

County Executive O’Neil was sworn in as Dutchess’ eighth County Executive on Jan. 3, 2023, to serve out the remainder of the term of his predecessor, Marcus J. Molinaro, who resigned the position to assume his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing New York State’s 19th District. County Executive O’Neil announced in 2023 he planned to retire following his year as County Executive; and since mid-November, he has worked with County Executive-Elect Serino to assure a seamless transition when she takes office on Jan. 1, 2024.

County Executive O’Neil said, “I’ve been bestowed many blessings in my life, and a career in public service has been among the most satisfying of those graces. This past year, while sometimes challenging, has been among the most rewarding of my life, and I thank the dedicated men and women of Dutchess County Government for their daily efforts to ensure this community thrives. Under Sue Serino’s leadership, I know the success we’ve had will continue for the foreseeable future, and I’m proud to call her not only my successor – but my close friend.”

The Dutchess County Legislature honored County Executive O’Neil at Monday evening’s final board meeting of the year, recognizing his years of service to the County, including this past 12 months as County Executive.

A person holding a certificate next to another person Description automatically generated with low confidence Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver said, “Bill and I have had a great relationship for many years, dating back to my years as Town of Pine Plains Supervisor. Bill’s heart and mind have always been focused on what’s best for Dutchess County, and he has proven that these past 12 months as our County Executive. For nearly two decades, this Legislature benefited from its collaborations with Bill, and the experience he brought, and Dutchess County is a better place for his service to his community. I wish him well in the next chapter.”

During his time in Dutchess County Government, O’Neil has been involved in countless projects and initiatives, and has led response efforts for emergencies including FEMA weather disasters such as Hurricane Irene, plane crashes and health emergencies, including the County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the projects and initiatives he spearheaded include Dutchess’ innovative school bus safety program, which tackles the issue of motorists illegally passing stopped school buses. The County Executive also guided the County in its journey toward a permanent location for its Emergency Housing Facility; continued development of the countywide youth center, the Youth Opportunity Union (YOU), in the City of Poughkeepsie as part of the County’s ongoing “Path to Promise” initiative, which he created with the Department of Community & Family Services’ Commissioner Sabrina Marzouka to expand the developmental assets available to youth; acquisition of Camp Nooteeming in Pleasant Valley; and oversaw expansion of the County’s award-winning parks system, most recently dedicating the Marcus J. Molinaro Northside Line (MJM NSL) this past weekend.

In addition, since taking office in January, County Executive O’Neil has been responsible for countless accomplishments, including:

* His 2024 Executive Budget proposal, which included the 11th straight County property tax rate decrease and the 10th consecutive County property tax levy reduction and was passed with few amendments from legislators;

* Prepared for opening the Dutchess County Justice and Transition Center, which will replace the former Dutchess County Jail with a modern facility serving as the cornerstone of the County’s innovative restorative justice efforts;

* Launching the LEAD program, an evidence-based street outreach program designed to reach individuals with unmet behavioral health needs who have not connected with traditional health and human services;

* Addressing housing stability and homelessness with the award of $8.9 Million from Housing Trust Fund to create or preserve more than 600 affordable rental units throughout Dutchess County;

* Rolling out the Department of Behavioral and Community Health’s Mobile Health & Wellness Unit, which brings a wide range of services to areas where access to healthcare resources are limited; and

* Improvements to Quiet Cove Riverfront Park in Poughkeepsie, which he has been involved with since its initial inception, including updated parking, entranceway, and the installation of four pickleball courts, which have been enormously popular.

“Making informed and pragmatic decisions has long been my approach, preserving the rights and dignity of every Dutchess County resident while working tirelessly to enhance the lives of all,” County Executive O’Neil said. “Be they on the local, state or national level, I’m proud to have faced all challenges head-on and looked for collaborators at every level to provide the best possible quality of life for the men, women, boys and girls fortunate enough to call Dutchess County ‘home.’ I hope I have made you proud.”

Always striving for well thought-out plans that serve the needs of people while being mindful of fiscal impact to taxpayers, County Executive O’Neil has been a passionate advocate on behalf of Dutchess County. Over the past year, O’Neil deftly defended Dutchess County against New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ forced relocation of migrants into local hotels, offered thoughtful and insightful critiques of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) with concerns about electric grid capacity and cost to residents; and raised alarms about the rising mandated costs forced on counties by New York State.

A Hyde Park native who graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes High School, County Executive O’Neil received his undergraduate degree from Niagara University and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Utah. After serving in the U.S. Army, eventually earning the rank of Captain, he began a successful career in the private sector as a senior executive in the healthcare software industry. He held various positions of sales, marketing and management, including Senior Vice President of Sales for Baxter Healthcare, Chief Operating Officer for MPower and President of a FISERV subsidiary.

He returned to Dutchess County in 2001 and served as Executive Director for the Children’s Services Council of Dutchess County before joining then-County Executive William R. Steinhaus’ staff in 2005. County Executive Steinhaus soon appointed Mr. O’Neil as his Assistant County Executive, and County Executive Molinaro appointed him as the first Deputy Dutchess County Executive in 2012, following adoption of a local law which amended the County Charter to create the position.

Prior to taking office this past January, County Executive O’Neil, in his various roles since 2005, was part of numerous achievements made during the Steinhaus and Molinaro administrations, including, among others:

* Stabilization and strengthening of county finances with tax relief for residents and businesses;

* Conception, design and opening of the 24/7 Stabilization Center – the first of its kind in New York State;

* Approval, design and driving forces for the construction of the Law Enforcement Center and Dutchess County Justice & Transition Center;

* Executive Office Leadership as member of the Dutchess County Criminal Justice Council; and

* Modernization and improvement of various County departments and facilities, including the Office for the Aging, Public Defender’s Office, Department of Emergency Response, Department of Public Works, Heritage Financial Park (f/k/a Dutchess Stadium) and the MJM NSL, among many others.

Upon his retirement, County Executive O’Neil and his wife, Gail, plan to spend a good deal of their time on the West Coast where his daughter and son-in-law live with their granddaughter and grandson.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email