The Despised Poor: Newburgh's War on Welfare

By Joseph P. Ritz | Go to book overview

FIVE · A THIRTEEN-POINT PROGRAM

FOR SOME YEARS before the welfare battle there had been talk of transferring the city's welfare functions to county control. It was a sensible proposal and a necessary one in view of the movement of industries and upper- and middle- class taxpayers to the suburbs. Newburgh, in fact, was one of only six upstate New York cities and one of the few in the nation which were still administering their own welfare departments.1

During Abrams' administration such a proposal had been brought before the City Council but failed to pass. Now the city fathers, faced with a growing tax burden, were having second thoughts. At a closed door meeting in mid-May Mitchell advised against consolidation of the Newburgh and Orange County welfare districts on the grounds that the city would have no control over who was to receive aid. He was overruled by the council, which unanimously voted for consolidation at the May 22 meeting.

During the session, Commissioner O'Donnell again predicted a welfare deficit for the year, this time one of $60,000. Mitchell added to the bad news with a statement that a

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1
The other five were: Binghamton, Auburn, Jamestown, Poughkeepsie, and Oswego. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare had no knowledge of any city of Newburgh's size outside the state with its own welfare department.

-45-

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The Despised Poor: Newburgh's War on Welfare
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents viii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Introduction xi
  • One a Pleasant Little City 3
  • Two "A Hell of a Likeable Guy . . ." 9
  • Three · a Rare Opportunity 20
  • Four · the Groundwork is Prepared 30
  • Five · a Thirteen-Point Program 45
  • Six · White and Black 59
  • Seven July 7, 1961: A Hearing 84
  • Eight · "I'Ll Leave It Up to the Lord to Provide." 102
  • Nine · Injunction 115
  • Ten · Mitchell the Politician 131
  • Eleven · a Charge of Bribery 169
  • Twelve Results of the Newburgh Program 188
  • A Postscript 210
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