Independently and in collaboration with local governments, business and not-for- profits across the Hudson Valley, CRREO conducts independent research on topics of regional interest; brings visibility and focus to these matters; fosters communities working together to better serve the citizenry; and seeks to advance the public interest in our region.
The Regional Well-Being Project is focused on measuring and reporting on Mid-Hudson Valley communities' social, economic, and environmental character that are broadly accepted and allow the tracking of change over time. The research team includes members of the CRREO staff, SUNY New Paltz faculty and students, and community leaders. Community leaders were recruited among business persons, professional practitioners, environmentalists, economic developers, local governmental officials and educators. In a series of focused meetings, our research team has considered existing related work and articulated community values. As part of this research we are also working with faculty in the development of related teaching materials for use in courses and guiding students in project-related work. The first report on measuring Regional Well-Being, which includes a Regional Well-Being Index, was released in June 2010 and was distributed to local government decision makers. Regularly appearing follow-up reports will be central to the continuing work of CRREO. Through these efforts we seek to inform decision making in the region, focus its efforts, identify opportunities, highlight successes and bring attention to areas where improvement is needed.
The project is funded by a grant from the United States Department of Education, obtained with the assistance of New York’s U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.
Ulster County Intergovernmental Collaboration Study:
This study is funded by Ulster County, and is the largest of its type in New York State. It seeks to identify areas where cost savings and efficiencies can be achieved through collaboration amongst municipalities in Ulster County. It focuses on three major areas: transportation, economic development and the justice courts.
For the full report, including our partner's portions, please visit the Ulster County website. The various parts of the report are in the section "Shared Services".
A Collaborative Approach to County Jailing in the Hudson Valley
Under the leadership of Orange County, with the collaboration of Ulster and Sullivan Counties, and with financial support of the Local Government Efficiency Program of the New York State Department of State, this research was undertaken to determine the degree to which counties in the Hudson Valley, by working together, might reduce the costs their jails.
We consider here not only the potential through collaboration to avoid newly incurred capital costs for jails in Hudson Valley, but also possibilities for controlling or diminish operating costs by this means, while continuing to fully assure public safety and the professional operation of jail facilities.
To assure that we could achieve a full regional perspective, we sought to include the five Hudson Valley counties in the region that were not sponsoring this study: Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Greene and Columbia. Representatives of the three sponsoring counties and each of these were invited to serve on an advisory panel of regional jail administrators; all but Greene chose to participate.
Pattern for Progress was engaged as a project partner to focus in particular on how the jail situation in Sullivan County had reached the critical point where, months later, a portion of the facility had to be closed by the state Commission on Correction.
Ulster County Youth Risk Evaluation Research
This research is currently funded from 2008-2010 with support from the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (OASAS) through Ulster Prevention Project. Research includes providing sophisticated analysis and interpretation of biennial county-wide youth risk surveys and the development and evaluation of an anti-inhalant promotion geared at younger adolescents.
Dr. Benjamin was appointed by the governor as a member of the NYS Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness.
In collaboration with the NYS Department of State, Dr. Benjamin wrote papers with Rachel John for the SMSI program of the department. His papers are available on the NYS Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness Web site.
Dr. Benjamin led in the development of Ulster county's first Charter and supporting transition to a Charter-based county government for Ulster County, New York.