Alfred DelBello, former Westchester Co. exec, dies

Alfred DelBello, a former Westchester County executive and former Yonkers mayor, has died at age 80.

The Yonkers native served as a Yonkers City Council member and then became mayor in 1970. He was elected county executive in 1973, becoming the first Democrat to hold the office. He was re-elected in 1977 and 1981.

In 1982, New York City Mayor Ed Koch ran for governor and chose DelBello as his running mate. Koch lost to Mario Cuomo in the Democratic primary, but DelBello served as lieutenant governor under Cuomo from 1983 to 1985.

Cuomo's son and current Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that DelBello "demonstrated an enduring commitment to bettering the lives of others."

Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano called DelBello a "titan."

Westchester County Democratic Committee Chairman Reginald LaFayette remembers DelBello as a loyal but fiercely independent Democrat who was able to affect change as county executive by garnering support from both sides of the aisle.

"He was a pioneer in terms of having people to understand that in Westchester County, it could be governed by both Democrats and Republicans," said LaFayette.

That support helped DelBello spearhead major projects such as a countywide bus system, and he helped to establish the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and a major recycling plant.

"Under his watch, Westchester became more diverse, became more economically diverse," said state Democratic Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer. "And he brought the county along to recognize that."

After retiring from politics, DelBello practiced law at an influential White Plains law firm. In a statement, Al Donnellan, a partner at the law firm DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr said, "We are deeply saddened by the passing of our partner and friend." DelBello was a founding partner.

DelBello also became a mainstay on the local news circuit, regularly offering insight and analysis on county politics.

Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino released a statement that said, "We were from different parties, but we were good friends and I always appreciated his advice and counsel." Astorino said some of the best advice he received from DelBello was to "always make sure you get home and spend quality time with your family."

DelBello leaves behind a wife and son. A private funeral will be held this week, followed by a public memorial on May 28.

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