"There is no other way to put this. Today, I got strength from the people," said Day, who is taking over for Scott Vanderhoef to become only the the third Rockland County Executive. "It is such an energizing, exciting, fulfilling event. It just reinvigorates me, not that I need a whole lot. People say I don't stop anyway, but if I needed a little more, today was it."
Monitors were set up outside the auditorium in expectation of the overflowing crowd. Day spoke about the challenges facing Rockland County, but focused on a positive message.
"There is no magic wand," Day said during his speech. "None of this can be fixed overnight. What we embark upon today is a journey, not a quick trip. Let us recognize today that while we can not ignore the realities that face us, we can certainly confront them, and together, with courage and determination on our side, we will prevail over them. Today we embark on an era of renewal."
Day's son, Chris, who had served as his father's campaign manager, spoke about his father's initial reluctance to run for county executive.
"It's probably difficult to believe given what we are conditioned to thin of modern politicians, but the fact is my father never really wanted any of this," Chris Day said. "He is and was two things, a cop and a family man. He was more than happy to be an active volunteer in his community,a role model for his children and grandchild and a devoted husband.
"I reminded him of something he always taught me as a child. Our highest calling is to serve and it is a sacred responsibility that, when you see the need of others, you put whatever energy and talent you may have to work. You put their needs ahead of your wants."
Dan Moscato served as master of ceremonies Father Charles Arlin of St. John's Episcopal Church in New City providing the invocation and the benediction given by Rabbi Jeremy Ruberg of the New City Jewish Center. Clarkstown Town Justice Craig E. Johns administered the oath of office.
The new county executive expects to get to work early Thursday morning.
"We are hitting the ground running tomorrow," said Guillermo Rosa, Day's chief of staff. "Our cabinet will meet tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock in the morning. I’m a military man, so we have early hours. I hope the commissioners and the department directors embrace that. We are looking to work with anyone and everyone for the betterment of Rockland. That is why the majority of people are here. These people are here because they want to make Rockland better. We all want the same thing, so why can’t we all be on the same page?"
"We will meet with purchasing," Day said. "We are going to ask that every contract that is expired at the end of this year, we will send a note out asking for a grace period of 60 days. If the vendors do not want to do that, we will terminate the contract immediately. If the vendor is amenable, we will say thank you and assess all contracts."
Day said he will be reviewing personnel matters, specifically those over the last two months.
"We will look at all of the hiring and transfers the last two months," Day said. "I have heard things that some would call disturbing. I would like to think most people would understand I’m not going to walk in an ignore what I heard. I will look at every transfer, every move that has happened and I will hold the managers accountable as to what was the operational incentive to make the move. They better have the right answers."
Editor's note: For video from Wednesday's ceremony, click here.
Thanks to Phil Costa for sharing these pictures from the oath of office ceremony.