Biography of Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana
Edward A. Diana is a lifelong Orange County resident, born and raised in Middletown. Ed and his wife, Mary, reside in the Town of Goshen where they raised their two daughters, Lindsay and Danielle.
Mr. Diana is a graduate of Middletown High School and Orange County Community College. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from Southern Connecticut University and a Masters in Education from Ithaca University. Prior to being elected County Executive in 2001, Mr. Diana worked for more than 30 years as an educator and athletic instructor in the Minisink Public School System. Mr. Diana is also an experienced small businessman, having owned the very popular downtown Middletown restaurant “Diana’s” that his grandparents and parents established in 1936.
Ed, or Eddie as he’s known among friends and family, is a member of numerous civic organizations including: the Sons of Italy, the Middletown Elks, UNICO, and the Goshen Historic Track Board. He is a former member of the Middletown Kiwanis, past president of the Middletown High School Booster Club, and former board member of the Horton Hospital Board. Mr. Diana is a strong believer in our community’s young people and devoted more than ten years to coaching at Minisink Valley High School, as well as the local youth Pop-Warner football league.
A lifelong public servant, Mr. Diana has a wide range of experience working in various levels of government. Prior to being elected County Executive, he served 12 years as Republican/Conservative County Legislator and for six years held the position as County Majority Leader. Mr. Diana also served as councilman and deputy supervisor in the Town of Wallkill in the 1980s.
Ed Diana was re-elected by a large majority on November 3, 2009 to a third term as Orange County Executive. During his tenure, he has moved Orange County forward in a positive direction. Through innovative leadership his administration has kept County government finances strong and taxes at their lowest rate since World War II; millions have been saved by cutting expenses and reviewing contracts and services; public safety efforts have been significantly strengthened; and, investments have been made to promote business and economic growth.
Under the Diana Administration, Orange County’s finances have remained strong despite financial difficulties at the state and federal levels. Orange County is one of only two counties in New York State to receive Aaa Bond Rating from Moody’s Investor Services and the County property tax rate has either been cut or remained stable for the past six years. The County recently completed six capital projects on time-on and/or under budget, paid cash for major capital improvements to our parks system, and enjoys a healthy budget surplus all a result of prudent financial management.
Seeing the economic challenges on the horizon, Mr. Diana was one of the first County Executive’s to take action and enact immediate cost containment strategies such as a hiring and travel freeze, a review of contracts and services, and a complete assessment of all business practices. Costly programs such as Medicaid have been reviewed and Medicaid transportation services have been restructured saving $3 million in the first two years of implementation. Electric and utility costs have been cut $600,000 annually using the power of regional cooperation to get the best price. Contracts have been negotiated saving millions annually to ensure current and future taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
Ed Diana believes that commercial investment is key to affordable taxes, good paying jobs, and quality communities. Seeing Stewart International Airport as a major economic engine for the Hudson Valley, Mr. Diana lobbied for and encouraged the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to take over operations at Stewart. The airport is continuing to grow with additional flights and airlines heading to more destinations. Unemployment in Orange County is below the national average and Ed Diana has taken action to promote economic development and job growth. Started in 2009, the Orange County Business Accelerator is paving the way for technology and business to set up shop in Orange County. Mr. Diana understands the need for job creation and retention in today’s challenging economy.
A new cutting edge $40 million Emergency Services Complex is home to one of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced E-911 and Emergency Operations Centers in the nation. The Diana administration has scored high marks from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its ability to protect the general public in the event of a major situation at the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants located five miles from Orange County. Mr. Diana is also credited with facilitating the start up of the Orange County Medical Reserve Corps., a dedicated group of healthcare professionals ready to assist their community in times of crisis.
Mr. Diana has also taken steps to revitalize cities and villages, fight crime among our youth, especially gang violence, promote culture and the arts, upgrade infrastructure, and enhance services provided by the County. For the County’s service men and women, Mr. Diana has worked diligently to help veterans obtain employment and readjust to civilian life. He was also instrumental in creating a veterans’ food bank that serves more than 100 veterans in need.
Mr. Diana currently serves as President of the New York State County Executives Association. He is also an involved member of the Board of Directors for the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) for which he serves as Second Vice President.
In 2010, Mr. Diana was recognized for his efforts by a number of community organizations, including:
During his tenure as County Executive, Mr. Diana has also been honored and recognized with the following awards:
- The Great Government Award from the Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP)
- The Hudson Valley Boy Scout Council’s Orange County Distinguished
- Citizen Award
- Service Award from the Orange County Alcoholism and Drug Abuse
- Council (ADAC)
- Amy Bull Crist Good Guy Award
- The Orange County Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Award
- Patriotic Employer, US Department of Defense
- American Red Cross of Greater New York Supporter Award
- March of Dimes Supporter and Honorary Walk Chairman
- United Way Spirit of Caring Award
- NYS Community College Trustees Award Distinguished Alumnus
- Classic 10 K Road Race Community Supporter
- Orange County Family Justice Center “Bridges of Hope Builder
- Orange County Arts Supporter
- NYS Industries for the Disabled (NYSID), Local Gov’t Customer of the Year Award
- UNICO, Man of the Year Award
- Greater Hudson Valley, Family Health Center, Pillar of the Community
- New York Library Association, Outstanding Advocates for Libraries Award
- Award from the Literacy Volunteers of Orange County
- Mental Health Association, Silver Bell Award
- March of Dimes, Honorary Walk Chairman
- Orange County Partnership, Most Valuable Partner
- Glen E. Hines Boys and Girls Club, Community Service Award
- Occupations, Heart of Gold
- Republican National Hispanic Assembly, Leadership Award
- Veterans Coalition, Award for Veteran’s Cemetery
- POW’R Against Tobacco, Outstanding Service Award
- Mid Hudson Horse Trail Association Recognition Award
- Let’s Talk, Distinguished Man
- Healthy Orange, Leadership Award
- St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Leadership Award
- New York State Office of the Aging, Leadership for Ombudsman Program
- Rehabilitation Support Services Pride in Recovery Award
- Raffaello Lodge 2661, Man of the Year