Hon. Alfreda Williams Sets Retirement In Motion
The daughter of descendants of slaves, whose father immigrated alone from the Caribbean dual-island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis to the US in 1930 and whose mother was a proud Virginian, the Honorable Alfreda Williams, Vice Chair of the Westchester County Board of Legislators, sets retirement in motion while continuing to live life well and to the fullest.
Williams moved to Greenburgh with her family in 1974. Her professional career includes several years with the New York State Department of Education and the New York State Department of Labor. Followed by many years of employment with major health care institutions, including Mount Sinai Medical Center; where she specialized in human resource administration, management training and development and risk management. In 1994, Williams became the first African-American to be elected Greenburgh Town Clerk and she held the post for 12-years, through 2007. During the post, she obtained state grants for improvements in technology, secure record keeping systems, and vital statistics (birth and death records) — all without increasing taxes. She also established the Archival and Record Center, the first ever for the Town. As the Town’s liaison to the Greenburgh Historic Landmarks Preservation Board, Williams assisted in obtaining the Town’s first designated historic site — the Gordon Parks’ former residence in Parkway Gardens. Williams also established the Town Clerk Internship Program, which sponsors local high school students.
In 2009, Williams succeed Honorable Lois Bronz as Westchester County Legislator representing District No. 8, which encompasses the southernmost part of Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Elmsford, northern Greenburgh and parts of the City of White Plains. Williams served as the Chair of the Community Services Committee for 6 years through December 2015. The committee provided legislative oversight for the Departments of Social Services, Health, & Community Mental Health and all programs that fall under them. Under her leadership, the committee fought hard for childcare funding, human services, and to keep the parent share for subsidy low; ensured that the closures of the Mental Health Clinics did not cause interruption of services for patients and continues to oversee the progress; passed the Source of Income Law; and passed the Reproductive Health Law for Westchester residents. As the chair of the Board’s Community Services Committee, she worked tirelessly to ensure services were available for all people in need. In January 2016, Williams was elected by her peers to serve in the leadership position as Majority Whip of the Democratic majority on the Board of Legislators before serving as Vice Chair. Williams is also a member of the following Westchester County Board of Legislators Committees: Budget & Appropriations; Legislation; Rules; Labor & Housing; Social Services and Seniors and Constituents.
Williams has always been an active and an involved Greenburgh citizen. She was active with the Greenburgh Central 7 PTA, the Woodlands High School Scholarship Fund and served on the Board of Directors of the Greenburgh Health Center. She is a member of the Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc., former parliamentarian of the organization and former director of the Greenburgh Chapter. She is a life member and former president of the White Plains-Greenburgh NAACP. She is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International and former president of the Hartsdale/Greenburgh Club. She is also a member of the Black Democrats of Westchester, and was a member and former vice president of the Westchester Town and City Clerks Association. Williams is also an active member of her church, St. Francis & St. Martha’s Episcopal Anglican Church in Greenburgh.
On March 29th, Williams declined her candidacy for another term on the Westchester County Board of Legislators sighting family considerations. The Committee to Fill Vacancies was activated and comprised of Greenburgh Democratic Chairman Steve Bass, White Plains Democratic Chairman Tim James, Mount Pleasant Democratic Co-Chair Bruce Campbell and Greenburgh Democratic Vice Chair Lemuel Davis. The Committee immediately requested letters of interest and on March 31st the White Plains Democratic City Committee hosted a virtual candidates’ forum with the three candidates who emerged. Williams’ daughter, Jewel Williams Johnson, an administrator with New York-Presbyterian’s Columbia University Irving Medical Center and President, Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Inc.; Louis Sanchez, delegate to the Westchester/Putnam AFL-CIO Central Labor Body and Vice President, Westchester Chapter, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA); and Jonathan Campozano, an assistant county attorney for Westchester County’s law department and member, Hispanic Democrats of Westchester Board. All three serve as district leaders with the Greenburgh Democratic Town Committee. Unfortunately, due to illness Mr. Sanchez could not participate in the candidates’ forum and eventually withdrew his name for consideration. During the candidates’ forum Mr. Campozano indicated, although, he does not currently meet the residency requirement, he was willing to move into the district should he be selected. The Committee to Fill Vacancies met on April 1st and unanimously approved/selected Jewel Williams Johnson and the required selection documents were filed with the Westchester Board of Elections on April 2nd. She will be on this November’s ballot and indicated, “Although, I do not have opposition, I will campaign to earn the support and as many votes as possible.” Johnson, who has served and volunteered with many organizations over the years, also relayed, “I intend to represent the district well and with enthusiasm. I am devoted to continuing the legacy set by my mother and Honorable Lois Bronz by advocating and serving the people of Legislative District No. 8 with deep dedication and positive Democratic policy results.”
The Honorable Alfreda Williams plans to continue to enjoy life fully and remain involved as much as possible while caring for her elderly first cousin, who is like a sister. Asked what she will miss most, Williams reflected on how much she enjoys assisting her neighbors and those who live in her district. Williams stated, “I’ll miss being able to use my office and title to triage constituent issues the most.” At that point her daughter chimed in by stating, “That is the very vain I want to emulate and to also be known for. Plus, I am confident should mom find she’s still itching to jump in and help constituents, we can easily arrange it.” Johnson continued, “My mom has always carried herself with a deliberateness and she is always poised to lend a hand or offer sage advice. Both Lois and mom honed those characteristics and it’s a model I will definitely mirror.”
There will certainly be more fanfare in celebration of her tremendous accomplishments as the end of Williams’ last term draws near. For now, we will behold, what The Journal News indicated as, a Williams political dynasty in Greenburgh.