Historical Overview In 1957, the Youth Bureau’s Board of Commissioners became the official arm of City government for the purpose of dealing with problems and concerns of the City youth. In May 1963, City Council made an appropriation for the staffing of the Bureau and for other expenditures necessary for its operation. James T. Douglass, the first Executive Director, and with part-time Secretary Marilyn Baily were hired.
Mayor Alvin R. Ruskin appointed Harold Siegal as the first Chairman. Siegal, along with 15 other members made up the original Board of Commissioners. They were to serve four-year overlapping terms, and in ex-officio capacities. Also serving on the Board were the heads of the Police Department, Department of Health, Law Department, Recreation Department, Board of Education, City Court, and Boys and Girls Club. In 1964, the membership of the Board was increased to 18.
Anti-Poverty Legislation In 1964, when drafts of the pending anti-poverty legislation, War on Poverty, became available, the Youth Bureau began to lay the groundwork for the City of New Rochelle’s participation. The City Council requested that the Youth Bureau submit a report of the feasibility of New Rochelle’s participation in the War on Poverty. As a result of this study, and based on the Youth Bureau’s recommendation, a resolution was passed which gave official sanction to the establishment of a Community Action Agency Program Committee. It was this data which laid the foundation that resulted in New Rochelle being the first City in Westchester County to be funded under the aegis of the Community Action Program Committee. In 1965, Joseph A. Tortelli became the Executive Director until 1976 where he resigned.