WHEREAS, hundreds of thousands of New York State residents are veterans of the Armed Forces of the United States and have served in or prepared for armed conflicts; and
WHEREAS, many New York State residents currently wear the uniform of the Armed Forces of the United States and are stationed in New York and around the world; and
WHEREAS, while veterans, members of the military and their families are often highly trained and experienced in skills that are in great demand in both the public and private sectors, such training and experience is often not considered or otherwise taken into account in the subsequent granting of licenses, admissions, degrees and certifications; and
WHEREAS, veterans are at risk to return home with or later develop physical disabilities, medical conditions, mental illness or substance abuse disorders, including but not limited to traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, impacting not only those veterans but their families as well; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary to ensure that federal, state and other resources are marshaled and coordinated to help veterans, military members and their families address these challenges; and
WHEREAS, the New York State Council on Returning Veterans and Their Families, established by Executive Order No. 12 issued by Governor David Paterson on November 11, 2008 and continued by my Executive Order No. 34 issued on November 10, 2011, fulfilled its mission, and the State must renew and strengthen its resolve to meet the needs of veterans, military members and their families;
NOW THEREFORE, I, ANDREW M. CUOMO, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and Laws of the State of New York do hereby revoke Executive Order No. 34 and order as follows:
A. The Council on Veterans, Military Members and Their Families
1. There is hereby established the New York State Council on Veterans, Military Members and their Families (the Council).
2. The membership of the Council shall consist of the following state officials or their designees: the Director of the Division of Veterans Affairs; the Adjutant General of the Division of Military and Naval Affairs; the Commissioner of Health; the Commissioner of Mental Health; the Commissioner of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services; the Commissioner of Homes and Community Renewal; the Commissioner of Economic Development; the Director of the Office for the Aging; the Commissioner of Labor; the Commissioner of Tax and Finance; the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles; the Commissioner of Education; the Commissioner of General Services, the Commissioner of Civil Service; the Commissioner of Temporary and Disability Assistance; the Commissioner of Environmental Conservation; the Commissioner of Corrections and Community Supervision; the Secretary of State; the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation; the President of the Higher Education Services Corporation; the Chancellor of the State University of New York; and the Chancellor of the City University of New York. The membership of the council shall also include the following members to be appointed by the Governor: one or more veterans, military members or family members of military members or veterans, a representative of an organization that provides behavioral health services to military members, veterans or their families; a representative of an organization that provides substance abuse counseling services to military members, veterans or their families; and an academic who specializes in military or veterans affairs; a representative of local government. Additional members may be appointed to the Council at the discretion of the Governor. All members of the Council shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor, and vacancies shall be filled by the Governor. The Director of the Division of Veterans Affairs or a designee thereof shall serve as the Chair of the Council.
3. A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum, and all recommendations of the Council shall require approval of a majority of the members.
4.Every agency, department, office, division and public authority of the State is hereby directed to review paths for military members and veterans into the civilian workforce and identify ways the State can better recognize the skills, education, training, experience, and credentials acquired while in military service, including by reviewing licensure and educational credit programs to identify ways that military training and experience can be counted or credited.
5. Every agency, department, office, division and public authority of this State shall cooperate with the Council and furnish such information and assistance, including use of State facilities, that is reasonably necessary to accomplish the purposes of this Order.
6. No member of the Commission shall be disqualified from holding any public office or employment, nor shall he or she forfeit any such office or employment by virtue of his or her appointment hereunder.
B. Duties of the Council
1. The Council is charged with making recommendations for a comprehensive State strategy to accomplish the following:
a. Increase public awareness of the needs of veterans, military members and their families and the value that veterans, military members, and their families offer communities;
b. Conduct education and outreach programs to ensure that veterans, military members and their families are aware of available resources and services to help them address physical health, mental health and substance abuse problems;
c. Properly identify veterans, military members and their families and ensure that they are aware of and have access to available benefits and services;
d. Identify and eliminate barriers to the prompt and accurate diagnosis of physical disabilities, medical conditions, mental illness and substance abuse disorders affecting veterans, military members and their families;
e. Improve access to education and employment opportunities for veterans, military members and their families;
f. Encourage the development of a viable referral network, including peer-to-peer systems;
g. Maximize the resources available to help veterans, military members and their families address physical disabilities, medical conditions, mental illness and substance abuse disorders, including funding and services available through federal, state, local and non-governmental sources;
h. Coordinate resources and services available for veterans, military members and their families that address physical disabilities, medical conditions, mental illness and substance abuse disorders resulting from active duty to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of those services;
i. Identify and address barriers to licensure facing veterans, military members and their families as they seek employment;
j.Explore strategies to ensure that educational credit programs appropriately count military training and experience; and
k. Develop and strengthen public-private partnerships to improve the lives of veterans, military members and their families.
2. The Chair may establish an advisory body comprising representatives of a broad range of interests relating to the well-being of veterans, military members and their families to assist the Council in its work. Membership of such advisory body should reflect the diversity of the military members, veterans and their families in New York State.
3. The Council shall issue reports to the Governor of its activities, findings and recommendations in furtherance of the purposes of this Order from time to time as directed by the Governor or the Governors designee.
G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the
State in the City of Albany this twentieth day
of March in the year two thousand
BY THE GOVERNOR
Secretary to the Governor