For all of you who embrace the idea of abolishing Westchester County government, here’s a book for your summer reading list. The title is “County Government in Connecticut. It’s History and Demise” by Rosaline Levenson (1966).
You frequently hear people say if Connecticut can get by without county government, then why can’t Westchester. Well, this book goes into how Connecticut did away with the county system.
Here are some excerpts:
“On the day that the counties ended their near 300 year existence, it is doubtful if many persons other than public officials and political figures were aware of the occasion. For the most part, the passing of Connecticut’s county governments occurred quietly and unnoticed by most people.” (pg 2-3)
“…criticisms of conduct ranging from secretiveness with which county operations are sometimes carried out to actual acts of malfeasance.” (pg 10)
James Bryce in the American Commonwealth in 1888: “Counties are the dark continent of American politics.”
There was strong resistance from some politicians because it “provided a lucrative source of patronage to whichever political party controlled the General Assembly.”
Abraham Rubicoff, the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1954, described the
counties as a “governmental fifth wheel that is neither efficient nor representative…” and existed “for purely political purposes of power, prestige and patronage.” (pg 118)