COUNTY OFFICE FOR THE AGING DIRECTOR MARY KAYE DOLAN TO RETIRE
Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro has announced the upcoming retirement of Dutchess County Office for Aging (OFA) Director Mary Kaye Dolan. Ms. Dolan has served Dutchess County for over 26 years in various roles, including the past five years as OFA Director.
County Executive Molinaro stated, “The needs and priorities of Dutchess County’s growing senior population are ever changing and evolving. Mary Kaye Dolan has been at the forefront of responding to those changing needs and has been an unwavering advocate for our seniors. She has continued to raise the bar in delivering high quality programming and services that have made Dutchess County a model throughout New York State.”
Following a radio news reporting career during which she covered County Government, Mary Kaye Dolan began serving with Dutchess County Government in 1985 as Assistant to the Chairman in the Dutchess County Legislature, when she was appointed by then-Chairman Douglas McHoul. She briefly returned to radio news broadcasting as the News Director for WKIP/Q92 from 1989 to 1993. In 1993, Dolan came back to County Government as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Office for the Aging. She was promoted to Aging Services Coordinator in 1996. In 2011, she was appointed as Director of Aging Services by then-County Executive William R. Steinhaus as part of a consolidation of Services for Aging, Veterans, and Youth (SAVY) into a single department. Ms. Dolan served as the Acting SAVY Commissioner from 2012 to 2013. As part of efforts to transform county government, County Executive Molinaro reorganized several departments in 2013 and returned the Office for the Aging as a standalone department and appointed Ms. Dolan as OFA Director.
As Director, Ms. Dolan has been responsible for oversight of the Office for the Aging and its mission of planning, coordinating and providing an array of community based services to the elderly and persons who require assistance in the long-term care system, in an effort to promote independence, dignity and quality of life. Census data shows Dutchess County’s senior population (60 and older) has grown nearly 30% from 2000 to 2010 and today 1 in 5 Dutchess County residents are seniors.
Under Ms. Dolan’s leadership, the Dutchess County Office for the Aging has been highly regarded by the New York State Office for the Aging for excellence in service delivery and compliance with state and federal regulations. OFA has continuously received positive annual evaluations from New York State every year since 1996 when she became Aging Services Coordinator, ensuring continued access to critical state and federal funds.
When Mary Kaye Dolan was recruited to return to Dutchess County Government as OFA Volunteer Coordinator, she was tasked with increasing the agency’s visibility in the community and developing a consistent systematic method of measuring client satisfaction and outcomes. During her tenure, OFA has dramatically increased the number of seniors, caregivers and others served. OFA enjoys a very high level of favorable and positive perception, as evidenced by continuous high client satisfaction ratings.
Among the accomplishments OFA has achieved under Director Dolan’s leadership:
– Increase in the number of special events offered annually including the Senior Seminars, the “Successful Aging” presentation, in addition to the popular Senior Prom, Celebration of Aging and many other events.
– Re-opening the Pawling Senior Friendship Center thanks to assistance from former New York State Senator Greg Ball.
– Introduction of the “Matter of Balance” fall prevention program.
– Re-worked the organizational structure to meet changing service delivery needs, including increased staffing to the OFA intake unit, where calls have more than doubled over the past years.
Impressively, this expansion of services has been accomplished without the need for additional county tax resources, but through strategic reorganization and capitalizing on state and federal fund opportunities.
Director Dolan noted, “Our success has been an ongoing team effort. I have enjoyed relationships with staff, contractors, volunteers, sponsors and elected officials who, together, have enabled the Office for the Aging to be one of the most respected and visible public agencies in the region. It is incredibly rewarding to know that every single day, our joint efforts are helping a great many people in Dutchess County, whether they be healthy and independent or frail and vulnerable.”
Dolan has served on the Board of Directors of the Association on Aging in New York, which is made up of the Offices for the Aging throughout New York State. She also served on the initial Board of Directors of Hudson Valley Home Matters, the first Aging in Place organization in Dutchess County.
Ms. Dolan has also served as the Chair of the County’s Health & Human Services (H&HS) Cabinet since 2012. The H&HS Cabinet is comprised of representatives from the County’s health and human services related departments, including Health (including the Division of Veterans Services), Mental Hygiene, Community & Family Services (including the Division of Youth Services), Probation & Community Corrections and the Office for the Aging, working together to coordinate service delivery to provide better outcomes for families. County Executive Molinaro appointed her as the staff liaison to the external Health and Human Services Advisory, a broad representation of community health and mental health experts. In these roles, Ms. Dolan was actively engaged in the study to merge the Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene into a single department as well as the County’s efforts to combat the epidemic of prescription drug and opiate abuse.
“Mary Kaye has been our go-to person for so many of the County’s key initiatives. She has always stepped to the plate when asked and has successfully moved these initiatives forward,” said County Executive Molinaro. “The impact of her work extends well beyond the success of the Office of the Aging. She has been a vital part of making Dutchess County Government smaller, smarter and more effective and she will be greatly missed. We wish her the very best in her next chapter.”
Ms. Dolan, who resides in the City of Poughkeepsie with her husband John, plans to enjoy cold weather months in Florida. She also intends to remain active in the community and involved with efforts to combat ageism and age discrimination. Ms. Dolan officially retires on January 28th, 2016.
Director Dolan said, “It has been an honor to be associated with the Dutchess County Office for the Aging for more than two decades, being part of such important work in our community. I am thankful to those I have worked for who gave me the opportunities: current County Executive Marc Molinaro, former Executive Bill Steinhaus and former OFA directors Douglas McHoul and John Beale. Never could I have imagined that this work would be so satisfying and those we work with to be so inspiring. It is a very bittersweet transition to retirement as Dutchess County Government has been a part of my entire professional life – when I wasn’t working here, I was covering the county as a reporter. I will greatly miss those I have worked with but know OFA will continue to serve the people of Dutchess County well.”
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